John R. Needham was an American Republican politician, lawyer, and newspaper editors
Born in Washington Court House, Ohio, Needham studied law and was admitted to the bar in Ohio.
In 1849 he moved to Oskaloosa, Mahaska County, Iowa, where he founded what became the The Oskaloosa Herald. He served in the Iowa State Senate beginning in 1852. In 1867, Needham was again elected to the Iowa Senate but died in office.
In 1857 Needham was nominated by the Republicans for member of the convention to frame a new Constitution but declined the position, and then was elected Lieutenant Governor between 1862 and 1864, serving under Governor Samuel J. Kirkwood.