Ned Touchstone

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Ned O'Neal Touchstone​

(Radical Right journalist and publisher of The Councilor, the official journal of the White Citizens' Council)

Political party Democrat

Born September 27, 1926​
Florien, Sabine Parish
Louisiana, USA

Resided in Shreveport and Bossier City, Louisiana

Died July 16, 1988 (aged 61)​
Lake Palestine
near Tyler, Smith County
Texas, USA ​
Spouse June A. McGehee Touchstone​

Three children:
Lauren Touchstone Webb
David Mark Touchstone
Lia Touchstone Tippit

Parents:
Sam F. and Carrie Moore Touchstone​

Religion

Ned O'Neal Touchstone (September 27, 1926 – July 26, 1988) was a Louisiana newspaper publisher active in the "Radical Right" during the 1960s.

Background

Born in the village of Florien in Sabine Parish, he resided in the Shreveport-Bossier City metropolitan area for most of his life.[1]

Touchstone was a descendant of Richard Touchstone (1657-1729), a New Jersey native who settled in Maryland. Another of his ancestors was Captain Benjamin Merrell (1731-1771) of Mercer County, New Jersey, who was hanged, drawn, and quartered in North Carolina in an early attack on the British crown prior to the American Revolution.[2] Other family members were pioneers in 1798 in the settlement of Mississippi.​ ​ Touchstone was a professional researcher and writer and owned and for a time and operated the largest retail book store in Shreveport. He was an avid reader and was known for his extensive vocabulary and for remembering and quoting large portions of published books and poetry. For eight years, he published in his print shop in Bossier City numerous weekly newspapers in Louisiana and Texas, including the former Bossier Press and the Waskom Gazette in Waskom in Harrison County in east Texas.[1]

Administrative assistant on Capitol Hill

Before owning and operating his newspapers, he worked during the 1950s on Capitol Hill as an administrative assistant for five years for Democratic U.S. Representative Thomas Overton Brooks (1897-1961) of Louisiana's 4th congressional district. Touchstone researched and authored the bill to construct the Veteran's Hospital in Shreveport, which is named for Representative Brooks. As a legislative aide, Touchstone claimed to have encountered several Puerto Rican nationalists who were running down the steps of the Capitol. This small group of armed radicals had assaulted several congressmen and wounded two in the arm.[3]

Another legislative aide on Brooks' staff was Billy McCormack, later the pastor of the University Worship Center in Shreveport and a founding director and vice president of the Christian Coalition.[4]​ ​

Publishing The Councilor

In 1962, Touchstone became the editor of The Councilor, the official publication of the White Citizens' Council, of which his mailing list included a worldwide readership of more than 106,000 but a paid circulation of 18,000. The Citizens Council was formed in the middle 1950s to oppose the civil rights movement in the South. Led in Louisiana by William Rainach, the council was composed of avowed segregationists who sought to exert financial pressures on civil rights supporters. The greater part of the members were medium to lower-income whites who were staunch supporters of what was commonly called "the southern way of life." The Citizens' Council grew in numbers until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law by U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, a frequent target of Touchstone's editorials, along with Johnson's intra-party rival, United States Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, subsequently a U.S. senator from New York for fewer than four years.[5]

In December 1963, a confidential informant (NO 1223-R) identified Touchstone as a member of the Original Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. The informant further revealed that the KKK had "documented proof" that President Johnson early in his political career joined the KKK, much as his friend Robert Byrd did in West Virginia.[6]

The Councilor offered stories hostile toward liberals in both major parties, and particularly the administrations of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson and Moderate Republicans who supported civil rights legislation and parts of the Democratic agenda.[5] Often Touchstone employed editorial ridicule and vociferous personal attacks against those whom he politically opposed.[7] However, Touchstone claimed to be an expert researcher and said that he had never lost a legal challenge regarding any of his articles. Touchstone often hosted citizens from all over the United States and even various British dignitaries eager for his personal analysis of events.​[5]

Citizens' Council founder William Rainach accused Ned Touchstone and Courtney F. Smith, Jr. (1925-2013),[8] an official of the Shreveport Citizens Council, of grandstanding for public attention. Touchstone replied that Rainach, who ran third in the 1959 Democratic primary for governor, was known for "inaction." Additionally, the council fought over Rainach’s support for the unsuccessful Republican candidate, Charlton Lyons, over Democrat John J. McKeithen, in the Louisiana gubernatorial general election held on March 3, 1964. The council also quarreled over the direction of The Councilor. As a result, Touchstone and Smith were removed from the Citizens’ Council of Louisiana’s board of directors. Touchstone and Smith, however, continued the publication of The Councilor into the late 1960s and early 1970s. Increasingly, The Councilor stressed race, anti-Semitism, and an assortment of conspiracy theories.[7]

Touchstone was also affiliated with the American Mercury, the former magazine of H.L. Mencken and George Jean Nathan (1882-1958), which fell under the control of anti-Semites in the 1960s. Touchstone was listed as a contributing editor of The American Mercury and for a time took over management of the publication. He appeared in the masthead as the "financial editor" before the publication closed in 1981. He held a seat on the board of Willis Allison Carto's Liberty Lobby, another anti-Semitic group which operated from 1958 to 2001. Touchstone called Carto (1926-2015) "one of the greatest living Americans."[5]​ ​

Integration, the Warren Report, and globalism

​Touchstone decried the civil rights activists and their determination to bring desegregation to the South. He claimed that Martin Luther King, Jr., whom he claimed had political and financial ties with international communism. Touchstone targeted the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, a communist front group in which Lee Harvey Oswald had been active prior to 1963. The "Fair Play" group sent busloads of northern blacks into the South to accelerate desegregation.[9] Touchstone and another Radical Right ally, George Singelmann, of the Greater New Orleans Citizens' Council, then organized the "Reverse Freedom Ride movement," which raised funds to provide bus trips for southern blacks into Northeastern cities populated by large numbers of white citiznes who mostly favored the desegregation of the southern states. The disgruntled southern minorities were encouraged to relocate to Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, the site of President Kennedy's compound, or to other cities where northern leaders who supported civil rights legislation lived. Touchstone claimed that his "Reverse Freedom Rides" neutralized the "Fair Play for Cuba" activists.​ After some months, the "Reverse Freedom Rides ended in failure.[10]

After the Kennedy assassination, Touchstone traveled and devoted himself to compiling the most detailed, fact-proven essay on the conspiracy that planned and hid the truth of Kennedy's murder in Dallas. Touchstone questioned the Warren Commission's report, which claims President Kennedy died from a single bullet fired by a lone gunman. For years, Touchstone investigated Kennedy's assassination and supported the conspiracy viewpoint formulated by District Attorney Jim Garrison of New Orleans. Since that time, many books, documentaries and even a Hollywood film, JFK, avowed that a conspiracy was responsible for Kennedy's assassination.The notes and photos that Touchstone compiled were used for the basis of the film JFK regarding Lee Harvey Oswald as the possible "fall-guy" and the U.S. government potentially engaging in a cover-up of the assassination so as to hide the real reasons for the killing.[11][12]

An early critic of globalism, Touchstone singled out "dangerous" groups promoting one-world government under the direction of international elites. He questioned the integrity of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Federal Reserve System, the Bank of France, the Bank of England, the three major American television networks, as well as the Rothschilds and the Warburgs banking families.[5] Touchstone claimed that these families were so interrelated that to preserve their domination he found fifty-eight examples up until 1910 of the Rothschilds marrying first cousins. Touchstone alleged that these international families provided the money to establish Vladimir Lenin in the former Soviet Union and continued to assist the international communist movement.[13]

Six months prior to Touchstone's death, the United States officially observed the third annual celebration of the birth of Martin Luther King. In many cities with large numbers of minorities, the King holiday has become one of the most popular holidays of the year. The honor to King was especially troubling to Touchstone, who was never reconciled to desegregation and the turmoil, crime, and lower academic standings that he believed integration brought to southern schools, some of which became known for gangs, rape, narcotics, shootings, crimes against teachers, and even closings from lack of enrollment. However, Billy McCormack, who also served on Representative Overton Brooks' staff, grew to accept desegregation, having served on Shreveport's Human Relations Commission, the Black History Committee, and the Martin Luther King Birthday Committee.[4]

Candidate for Louisiana school superintendent

On November 4, 1967, Touchstone ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat for Louisiana state superintendent of education. He claimed that he would use administrative measures to thwart the accelerating process of school desegregation in Louisiana, which was completed fully under federal court decrees in August 1970. He was badly defeated by incumbent William J. "Bill" Dodd, a long-time Louisiana politician who sought a second term as superintendent.[14] Dodd formerly served as lieutenant governor under Earl Kemp Long.

In that same primary election, John McKeithen won overwhelmingly his second consecutive term as governor over the intra-party challenge of conservative U.S. Representative John Richard Rarick (1924-2009).

Touchstone was born in Sabine Parish, and Dodd, who was seventeen years Touchstone's senior, was reared in Sabine Parish.​

Personal life

At the time of his death at the age of sixty-one, Touchstone resided on Lake Palestine near Tyler, Texas, where he and his wife had retired. Services were held on July 30, 1988, at the Osborn Funeral Home Chapel in Shreveport. As a World War II veteran, he received a Purple Heart for war wounds,[15] was given a military burial, and laid to rest at the Hill Crest Memorial Park in Haughton in south Bossier Parish near the red hills and lush forests where he was born and played as a child.[1]

Most of his lifetime work was donated to the Noel Memorial Library at Louisiana State University in Shreveport. His large personal library became the property of his children. Touchstone was known for his vast knowledge of facts and ability to call to mind complete passages from the thousands of books that he had read and collected. He was a world traveler and could discuss nearly any subject intellectually with any expert. His expertise included the fields of ancient history, languages, sciences, poetry, art, and the Bible.[1]

Touchstone's mother, Carrie Moore Touchstone (1906-1982), is interred at Old Town Cemetery in Haynesville in Claiborne Parish.[16] ​His father, Sam F. Touchstone (1904-2002), a native of Clarke County, Mississippi, was a taxidermist and inventor in Bossier City. He was affiliated with a half-dozen Baptist churches during his sixty-seven years as a professing Christian. Like his son Ned, he is interred at Hill Crest Memorial Park in Haughton.[17]

Touchstone was married to the former June A. McGehee (born April 19, 1927), a native of Homer in Claiborne Parish who resides in Shreveport and a Republican. The Touchstones have a surviving son, David Mark Touchstone (born September 23, 1952), a business attorney in Shreveport-Bossier City and also a Republican;[18] two daughters, Lia Touchstone Tippit (born c. 1955) of Rockwall, Texas, and Lauren Touchstone Webb (born April 23, 1948) of Shrevport.[1]

From 1981 until his death two decades later, Sam Touchstone operated the Touchstone Wildlife & Art Museum on U.S. Highway 80 in Haughton. The facility showcases taxidermist exhibits on two floors from floor to ceiling with specimens of animals from all over the world. After Sam Touchstone's death, his second wife, Lura Patrick Touchstone (born September 1931), of Bossier City and her daughter, Samantha Olson, continued to operate and expand the museum. The facility also contains artifacts of Native Americans and a section on the notorious outlaws Bonnie and Clyde, who rampaged through [north Louisiana to their deaths in 1934. In March 2017, Mrs. Touchstone, announced that the museum has fallen on difficult economic times with declining attendance, and the future of the facility remained doubtful. She noted that many schools no longer send children to the wildlife museum on field trips though the facility had been very popular with young people in the past.[19]​ As of the summer of 2019, the museum, which is rated highly among its patrons, was still operational.[20]

Touchstone was a first cousin of former Louisiana state Senator Danny Roy Moore, a civil engineer and land surveyor who resides in Arcadia in Bienville Parish. Moore represented Claiborne and Bienville parishes for a single term from 1964 to 1968. Moore's mother, Capitola Touchstone Moore (1902–2002), a native of Perry County, Mississippi, and an older sister of Sam Touchstone, is interred at Arlington Cemetery in Homer, where she had lived for much of her life. [21]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Ned O. Touchstone obituary, 'The Shreveport Times, July 30, 1988.
  2. The Merrell Family. Texas A&M University. Retrieved on March 24, 2017.
  3. Five Congressmen Shot in House by 3 Puerto Rican Nationalists; Bullets Spray from Gallery. The New York Times (March 2, 1954). Retrieved on August 24, 2019.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Billy McCormack Mission Group.com, June 10, 2012; no longer on-line.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Ned Touchstone: The Citizens Councils and The Councilor. Institute for the Study of Academic Racism (1983). Retrieved on March 25, 2017.
  6. Trump Reveals Which Democratic President Was Also KKK Member, Liberals in Meltdown Mode. Madworldnews.com (October 30, 2017). Retrieved on August 25, 2019.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Rebecca Bruckmann. Citizens' Councils, Conservatism and White Supremacy in Louisiana, 1964-1972. European Journal of American Studies" in journals.openedition.org. Retrieved on August 24, 2019.
  8. Courtney Smith's obituary. The Shreveport Times (August 31, 2013). Retrieved on August 25, 2019.
  9. William A. Branigan. Kennedy Assassination Collection Full Results. archives.gov. Retrieved on August 14, 2017.
  10. Katy Reckdahl (May 22, 2011). Reverse Freedom Rides sent African Americans out of the South, some for good. New Orleans Times Picayume. Retrieved on August 25, 2019.
  11. Dave Reitzes. The Clinton (Louisiana) Witnesses Linking Clay Shaw to Oswald. Mcadams.posc.mu.edu. Retrieved on March 24, 2017.
  12. Covert History: Ned Touchstone, David Ferrie, and Jim Garrison. Coverthistory.blogspot.com (December 22, 2005).
  13. Rothschilds Married Cousins. Jewish Telegraphic Agency (September 16, 1934). Retrieved on August 25, 2019.
  14. Shreveport Journal, November 6, 1967, p. 1.
  15. Ned Touchstone: Recipient of the purple heart medal. Peoplepill.com. Retrieved on August 24, 2019.
  16. Carrie Lee Moore Touchstone. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on March 24, 2017.
  17. Sam F. Touchstone. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on March 24, 2017.
  18. David Touchstone. Mylife.com. Retrieved on August 26, 2019.
  19. Amanda Simmons. Haughton museum faces closure. Minden Press-Herald. Retrieved on March 25, 2017.
  20. Touchstone Wildlife & Art Museum. Facebook. Retrieved on August 24, 2019.
  21. Capitola Touchstone Moore. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on March 24, 2017.

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