From mule boy to chief engineer for the Collinsville Mining Company is the record of Daniel Needham, who has been a resident of Breese in the latter named capacity for the past twenty years. “Push, Pluck and Perseverance” have been the watchwords of Daniel Needham, and the measure of success he has achieved in his life thus far amply demonstrates the winning power of those qualities when applied in daily life.
Born in Belleville, Illinois, on October 10, 1863, Daniel Needham is the son of Matthew Needham, a native of England, born in Manchester. Matthew Needham was a coal miner. He went into the mines as a boy and made a close study of mining, and when he came to America as a young man he located at Belleville and there entered the same occupation. He gradually worked his way up in mining circles, and, finally became president of the Ruby Coal Mining Company, which position he held at the time of his death, in 1901. Mr. Needham was a Democrat, staunch and true in his adherence to the party, but never an office seeker. He was a
Methodist, and for years a trustee of that church. Just previous to his migration to America Mr. Needham married Miss Martha Williamson, of Manchester. Seven children were born of their union, five of whom are living, Daniel Needham being the eldest. The others are John, Thomas, James and Albert.
The ascent of Daniel Needham from his labors as a mule driver when a boy to his present responsible position has been attended by manifold difficulties and even hardships. Relentless, unremitting toil marked his youth and early manhood, and only his dominant will, —his determination to advance, have brought him to his present secure footing. When he was a young boy his mother died, and his father contracted a second marriage. He attended the Collinsville Public schools, graduating therefrom in 1880, and he immediately went into the mines, starting as a mule driver. He worked there in that and other capacities for a period of about twelve years, after which he went with one Mr. Hanvey to perfect himself in the trade of an engineer, and in 1889 he came to Breese as engineer for the Consolidated Coal Company of St. Louis, a position which he has held continuously since that time.
Mr. Needham has ever been a man of prominence in the town which he has called home for so many years. In his political convictions he is Democrat, and has served the party in various capacities and at various times. He is citizen of great worth, and his political influence is always directed in a manner that is calculated to result in the best good to the community, regardless of party affiliations. He has held various offices in Breese from time to time. He was for three years president of the village, and he was the incumbent of that office when the village was incorporated five years ago as a city. In 1910 he was elected mayor of the city, carrying the election by an overwhelming majority. For fifteen consecutive years he held the position of chief of the Breese fire department, always giving the town the most efficient service possible with an organization of its size and equipment. Mr. Needham is a member of the Miners' union, being president of that body. He is a member of the Catholic church.
In 1888 Mr. Needham wedded Sarah Normansell, of Caseyville, Illinois. Six children have been born to their union, three of whom are living. They are William, James and Nora. In 1900 Mrs. Needham died, and in 1902 Mr. Needham contracted a second marriage, when Miss Wilhelmina Niemeyer became his wife. She was a resident of Breese, well known and esteemed of all. There is one child by the second marriage, Martha.