Francis Drake Needham ∙ Seneca Daniel Needham ∙ Daniel Seneca Needham
By Frances Lucille Needham Holman, January 2000
Years ago the census only listed head of household, Francis d. Needham, census of Savannah Co, as head of household, consisting of 1 male (70-80), 1 female (40-50), and 1 female (70-80). Seneca Daniel Needham of Belchertown from 18th century tax roll, he was listed in 1779, when he assessed for 1 poll (1 only male of age in his household). 100 acres of land, 4 cows, 7 sheep, and 3 swines. Total assessed, valuation, 111 pounds, 7 shillings – not a wealthy man. But about average for the town.
In 1784 division of the town into school districts, he lived in the Logtown District – which was later called Dwight section of town (in the north part of town near the Amhurst and Pelham lines). His 100 acres of land indicated he lived in the north part of town, where the land was laid out and surveyed by the range method into 100 lots.
I find no records of membership in the Congregational Church of Massachusetts. Not everyone were members.
By the end of the 18th century there were Baptists or Separates here, although no church records exist before 1800’s when it was formally organized. The vital records of four neighboring towns, that were abandoned or flooded, when the Quabbin Reservoir was built in the 1830’s, Greenwich, Prescott and Dana, found no records of Kneedham or Needham there.
Many families moved back and forth within the area, towns, times, families and the town’s line changed.
Daniel Needham was a participant in Shay’s Rebellion (or Farmer’s Rebellion of 1787). Eighty Belchertown men are recorded in the Massachusetts archives and town records as taking the “Oath” of Allegiance to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts following the rebellion. (This was) a very high percentage of the male, adult population. The action is the skeleton in many New England family closets though the Rebellion is viewed now sympathetically, by current historians, than it was even 50 years ago. It is today viewed as the leading cause in getting the Continental Congress off their duffs and the adoption of the Constitution and the abolishment of debtor’s prison. Everyone who participated was pardoned provided they took the Oath of Allegiance of the Commonwealth. (There was no United States of America in 1787).
A stamp commemorating the 200 year anniversary in 1987 was refused authorization by President Reagan and the U.S Postal Service. So, I guess all they had done officially, we have not forgiven. Most lost all they had.
The primary cause of leading to the Rebellion and many families, disappeared from local records immediately thereafter.
We know they went to Western Massachusetts from inquiries, from descendants that some (went) to newly settled townships and many went to New York State to begin again. And some, apparently, returned to where they came from.