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Ned O'Neal Touchstone
Born (1926-09-27)September 27, 1926
Florien, Sabine Parish
Louisiana, USA
Died July 16, 1988(1988-07-16) (aged 61)
Lake Palestine
near Tyler, Smith County
Texas, USA
Place of burial Hill Crest Cemetery in Haughton, Louisiana
Residence Shreveport-Bossier City
Louisiana
Nationality American
Occupation Newspaper editor and publisher; Researcher; Journalist; Political activist
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) June A. McGehee Touchstone
Children David Mark Touchstone
Lia Touchstone Tippit
Lauren Touchstone Webb
Parents Sam F. and Carrie Moore Touchstone

Ned O'Neal Touchstone (September 27, 1926 – July 26, 1988) was a newspaper publisher who was a figure in the "Radical Right" in Louisiana politics during the 1960s. He was born in the village of Florien in Sabine Parish but resided in the Shreveport-Bossier City metropolitan area for most of his life.

Touchstone was descended from Richard Touchstone, a settler of Maryland prior to 1650, and Benjamin Merrell, who was hanged, drawn, and quartered in North Carolina in 1771 in an early attack on the British crown. His family members were pioneers in 1798 in the settlement of Mississippi.

Touchstone fought in the Battle of Okinawa near the end of World War II.[citation needed] He was the personal driver/bodyguard of the Vice President of South Korea.[citation needed] He was involved in reconnaissance and was often assigned the task of going into jungles to locate the enemy. On one such mission he was captured by the communists, placed in a boxcar with other prisoners and shipped to a prison camp. After a short time he was sent back to Seoul.[citation needed] One one mission Touchstone accompanied three military police officers to arrest several communists. During the arrest the lights were knocked out, and Touchstone hit one communist so hard that he broke his own right hand. He continued to fight with his left hand and grabbed a machete which severely cut his only good hand. Touchstone's party overcame the enemy and arrested them. He received a Purple Heart and was also the recipient of one of only twenty Sharpshooter medals issued during the entire war.[citation needed] He achieved the highest rank available for a non-commissioned Sergeant Major. In his latter years when Touchstone was questioned about his feats and heroism in the war, he always remarked that he did what he had to do but was never proud of the situation.[citation needed]

An unusual publisher

Touchstone was a professional researcher and writer and owned 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 Bossier Press and the Waskom Gazette in Waskom in east Texas. Before owning and operating his newspapers, he worked on Capitol Hill as an administrative assistant for five years for Democratic U.S. Representative Overton Brooks. Touchstone researched and authored the bill to construct the Veteran's Hospital in Shreveport. An incident occurred during his years as a legislative aide when Touchstone encountered several Puerto Rican nationalists who were running down the steps of the Capitol. This small group of armed radicals had attacked several congressmen and wounded two in the arm. The radicals were fleeing when they encountered Touchstone, who was at the time entering the building with three other clerks. Touchstone, who was unarmed, ran up to the first armed man, knocked him to the ground, and took his weapon.

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 of America.[1] In 1962, he became the editor of The Councilor, a publication of the White Citizens' Council of America, of which his mail list included a worldwide readership of over 106,000. The Citizens Council was formed in the middle 1950s to oppose the civil rights movement in the South. The White Citizens' Council's membership was composed of a growing group of conservative white southerners 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 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.

Touchstone's newsletter, The Councilor was hostile toward liberals in both major parties, and particularly the administrations of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Often Touchstone employed editorial ridicule and vociferous personal attacks against those whom he politically opposed. However, Touchstone was an expert researcher of truth and facts and never lost a legal challenge regarding any of his articles. Touchstone was often host to citizens from all over the United States and even various British dignitaries, who were faithful followers of his revelations and the news behind the scenes.

Touchstone was known for his dry humor and play upon words as well as his political cartoons. He once printed a "Letter to the Editor" in The Councilor in which an African American man from the North derided young blacks in Sebring, Florida, where the city had set aside a beachfront for black recreation, but the site was constantly littered, "filthy," in the words of the letter writer, and therefore unusable. There were before and after photos to support this claim, but liberal readers found it offensive.

Opposing King, integration, and globalism

Touchstone decried the civil rights activism of Martin Luther King, Jr., whom he claimed (and later proved with federal documentation and photos) had political and financial ties with international communism. Touchstone said that many Americans could not understand that "King gets his money from known Reds until they are hit over the head with the facts. We stand ready to hit them over the head with solid facts." FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, however, claimed that while the communists had attempted to infiltrate the civil rights movement they had failed in that mission.

Touchstone opposed the Fair Play for Cuba movement, a communist front in which Lee Harvey Oswald had been active prior to 1963. The "Fair Play" group sent busloads of northern blacks into the South to work for desegregation. Touchstone and another Radical Right ally, George Singlemann of New Orleans, instead organized the "Reverse Freedom Ride movement," which raised funds to provide bus trips for southern blacks wishing to relocate to the North. Disgruntled southern minorities were encouraged to relocate to Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, the home of the compound of President Kennedy, or to other cities where northern leaders who supported civil rights legislation lived. Touchstone claimed that his "Reverse Freedom Ride" neutralized the "Fair Play for Cuba" activists. Later, 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. He supported the conspiracy viewpoint formulated by Orleans Parish District Attorney Jim Garrison. There have since been many books, documentaries and even a popular Hollywood film, JFK, depicting the facts that Touchstone wrote about in The Councilor. The notes and photos he compiled were so undeniable and clear that they were used for the basis of this movie regarding Lee Harvey Oswald and his connection to the U.S. Federal government of the coverup and real reasons for that assassination, including the sacrifice of "fall guy" Lee Harvey Oswald. Touchstone was an early critic of growing American globalism. He singled out "dangerous" groups such as 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 Rothschild and Warburg families. He claimed that these families were so interrelated that to preserve their domination he found 64 examples where the Rothschilds had married first cousins. According to Touchstone, these international families provided the money to establish Vladimir Lenin in the former Soviet Union and continued to assist the international communist movement, Touchstone claimed. His claims have since been proven[citation needed] and have been the subject of several documentaries on the History Channel.

Six months prior to Touchstone's death, the United States 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 the third most popular 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 racial integration brought to southern schools, some of which became known for gangs, rape, narcotics, shootings, crime 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 King Birthday Committee.[1]

Running for superintendent of education

In 1967, Touchstone ran as a Democrat for Louisiana state superintendent of education. He claimed that he would use administrative measures to thwart the continuing process of school desegregation in Louisiana, completed in August 1970. He was badly defeated by incumbent William J. "Bill" Dodd, a long-time Louisiana politician. Incidentally, Touchstone was born in Sabine Parish, and Dodd, who was seventeen years Touchstone's senior, was reared in Sabine Parish.

Ned Touchstone was in Cuba on New Years Day 1959, when the communist Fidel Castro overthrew the government there with his rebel army. Touchstone was ordered to stay in his American-owned hotel, but he instead chose to leave under the cover of night and walk through the bullet-ridden, fire- burning city of Havana so that he could gather facts for the first news story telephoned from the island to the United States. He spoke with several national news networks and made history while risking his life to get the truth of the communist conquest of Cuba to the American people.

Touchstone critics tried unsuccessfully to nullify his achievements by claiming, falsely, that the journalist was affiliated with the radical Original Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

Touchstone's obituary

At the time of his death, 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 hero of World War II, he was given a military burial and laid to rest at the Hillcrest Cemetery in Haughton, Louisiana, near the red hills and lush forests where he was born and played as a young child. 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.

Wildlife Museum in Haughton begun by Sam and his second wife, Lura Touchstone

Touchstone was survived by his wife, the former June A. McGehee (born 1927), a native of Homer in Claiborne Parish; his father, Sam F. Touchstone (1904–2002), a taxidermist and inventor in Haughton in southern Bossier Parish, who was living in Bossier City at the time of Touchstone's death; a son, David Mark Touchstone (born September 23, 1952), a business lawyer in Shreveport-Bossier City; two daughters, Lia Touchstone Tippit then of Rockwall, Texas, and Lauren Touchstone Webb of Shreveport; two sisters, three brothers, and ten grandchildren. Touchstone was predeceased by his mother, Carrie Moore Touchstone (1906–1982). Sam Touchstone and his second wife, Lura P. Touchstone, operated the Wildlife Museum in Haughton.

Touchstone was a first cousin of former Louisiana State Senator Danny Roy Moore, a civil engineer and land surveyor who resides in Arcadia, Louisiana. Moore represented Claiborne and Bienville parishes in the Senate from 1964-1968. Moore's mother, Capitola Touchstone Moore (1903–2002), was a sister of Sam Touchstone.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Billy McCormack". mccormackmissiongroup.com. http://www.mccormackmissiongroup.com/#!billy-mccormack. Retrieved June 10, 2012. 

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