Strangers to Us All
Lawyers and Poetry

Tim Needham

(1842- )

"Tim Needham is the son of Parkman Smith and Rebecca South Needham and was born May 28, 1842, in Cumberland county, Illinois, the only one of the eleven children of his parents wo was not born in Kentucky, and was educated in the common schools, in which he began teaching at the age of sixteen. In 1864 he went to Elizabethtown, Kentucky, dressed in a suit of Kentucky jeans clothing, with a cash capital of one dollar and fifty cents in his pockets, and began the study of law. He was licensed to practice law in October of the same year and graduated with honor from the law department of the University of Louisville in the class of 1867. He began the practice of his profession at Elizabethown in partnership with Judge Wesley Mathis, and thus early showed promise of unusual ability.

In November, 1869, Mr. Needham removed to Louisville and assumed the secretartyship of the Grand Lodge of Good Templars and the editorship of the Riverside Weekly, the offical organ of that order. At the same time he practiced law as junior member of the firm of Kinney, duncan & Needham. Subsequently for two years he engaged in his profession in Owensboro, Kentucky, in association with Judge Lucius P. Little.

On October 3, 1878, Mr. Needham married at Williamstown, Kentucky, Miss Kate Smith, and in the November following began the practice of law there with mrs. Needham's father. At the end of four years Mr. Needham became cahsier of the bank of Williamstown, which position he held for sixteen years, resigning in 1898, when he became editor and owner of one-half of the Williamstown Courier, of which newspaper he became sole owner in 1902. He sold this paper in 1909 and became part owner and editor of the Winchester, Kentucky, Democrate, which connection he assumed March 1, 1910.

Mr. Needham was commissioner of common schools in Hardin county, represented Grant county in the Kentucky legislature in 18876-8, and was later a member of the state senate from a district composed of the counties of Grant, Boone and Pendleton. While a member of the house he introduced and had passed a graded school law, the first permanent advance in the school laws of the state . . . . Among the other notable efforts of Mr. Needham was a speech made in the investigation of the railroad lobby, which has permanently rendered him unpopular among lobbyists of all degreees. Mr. Needham is an active member of the Kentucky Press Association and in 1908 was elected president of that militant body. He has also several times been elected poet laureate of the association, but for lack of space and at Mr. Needham's personal solication none of his numerous poetical contributions can be given here." [E. Polk Johnson, A History of Kentucky and Kentuckians: The Leaders and Representative Men in Commerce, Industry and Modern Activities 782-783 (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1912)(vol. 2)][online text]

Tim Needham
Kentucky: A History of the State (7th ed., 1887)
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