Jerry P. Shinley Archive:
Some Material Relating to Thomas Edward Beckham



       A Grand Jury subpena was issued for Thomas Edward Beckham, then living in Omaha, Nebraska, on December 29, 1967. The summons was for an appearance on February 1 and 2, 1968. The subpoena identified Beckham as an associate of David Ferrie, an ordained priest in the Old Orthodox Catholic Church of North American, the operator of a "Cuban mission" on Rampart Street, and a person with knowledge of CIA training in N.O. and of Guy Banister's "intelligence activities". It was further alleged that Beckham was reported to be in Dallas in November of 1963 with a Cuban exile. (NOTP; December 30, 1967; s1, p1)

       In Omaha, Beckham said that he had been introduced to Ferrie "for about 10 minutes" by Jack Martin. He disclaimed any meeting with Oswald. He claimed that he worked for Jim Garrison for three months in late 1962, but that there would be no record since he was paid in cash. Beckham also claimed to know William Gurvich. Gurvich, however, denied this. Beckham said he had been arrested in N.O. for running a lottery in a church on Rampart Street. (ibid)

       The next day, Beckham's brother, Frederick, said that his family had contacted the FBI to ask for an investigation of Garrison. Frederick called the DA's charges "a political frame." It was suggested that a sympathy card Thomas Beckham had mailed to Jackie Kennedy on November 22, 1963, could establish that Beckham was not in Dallas at that time, if the card could be found and the postmark examined. It was reported that Beckham had moved from Nebraska to Iowa, where it would be harder to extradite him as a witness. (NOTP; December 31, 1967; s1, p2)

       On January 30, 1968, a Nebraska court ordered Beckham to go to New Orleans to testify. (NOTP; January 31, 1968; s1, p1)

       Beckham arrived in New Orleans after midnight on February 1, 1968. Beckham asked for a delay in the Grand Jury hearing so that he could "confer with his attorney, newly elected state Rep. Edward H. Booker." The delay was granted until February 15. "Three pistol-toting men accompanied Beckham into court. One, James Hauger, 32, said he resigned from the Omaha police force two days before to act as Beckham's bodyguard. Another was an unidentified brother of Beckham, and the third was Herman Henning, who carried credentials as an auxiliary sheriff." Beckham claimed he needed the guards because he had been threatened in Omaha and N.O. (NOTP; Frebruary 2, 1968; s1, p1)

       On February 3, the NOTP reported that Beckham had a pending 1961 theft charge against him in Jefferson Parish. Thomas and his brother, Orville, had been arrested in July of 1961 for looting $12,000 in cash and merchandise from a fabric store which employed the Beckham brothers. The merchandise was allegedly to be used to stock two stores the brothers planned to open. Orville served a year of probation. Thomas's case was continued on January 30, 1963, because Beckham was "a patient at the Mandeville State Hospital." (NOTP; February 3, 1968; s3, p22)

       On February 12, Beckham announced that he intended to run for congress in Nebraska. (NOTP; February 13, 1968; s1, p20)

       On February 15, Beckham testified before the Grand Jury for about six hours. The Giant himself [Jim Garrison] appeared briefly. Earlier, Beckham had sought permission from Judge Matthew S. Braniff to have an attorney accompany him before the Grand Jury, something which was not normally allowed. Beckham expressed a fear that he was being framed by Garrison and Jack Martin. Braniff denied the request and ordered Beckham to testify. When Beckham went into the courtroom, "he was accompanied by A. Roswell Thompson, who has often been a candidate for ... mayor and other offices." (NOTP; February 16, 1968; s1, p1)

       Addison Roswell Thompson was described in his obituary as a "self-proclaimed racist and wizard of the Ku Klux Klan." Thompson died February 15, 1976 at the age of 64. "Thompson ran a small taxicab company until he retired four years ago." (NOTP; February 16, 1976; s1, p1; s1, p12)

       In February of 1967, Thompson served as master of ceremonies for a meeting of the Crescent City chapter of the National States' Rights Party. The main speaker at the meeting was J. B. Stoner. Stoner made a number of charming remarks about the state of racial relations in the United States. (NOTP; February 20, 1967; s3, p16)


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