Birds of Nebraska: Newspaper Accounts, 1854-1923

[E.A. O'Brien]. October 24, 1886. Omaha Sunday Bee p. 2.

"Eat, Drink and be Merry"

The Second Annual Banquet of the Omaha Gun Club.

The Gun Club Banquet.

Last night the second annual banquet of the Omaha Gun club took place at the Millard hotel. It was held in the newly decorated and beautified dining hall, which was illuminated with scores of brilliant lights.

The opening was set for 9 o'clock, and at that time nearly all of the members and the invited guests had assembled in the parlors. A few minutes of agreeable greetings and conversation were indulged, and the, at a given signal, the guests formed in line, and under the escort of Messrs. T.H. Cotter, George E. Kay and G.F. Brucker, filed into the banquet room.

But a few minutes sufficed to seat the guests, and when this was accomplished, the tables ranged in a quadrilateral, were surrounded by as genial, gentlemanly and imposing a number of epicures as ever graced a board in Omaha.

The head was toward the west, and in the middle sat Jeff W. Bedford, president of the club. On his right sat B.E.B. Kennedy, of the old Omaha Sportsman's club, while his left was sustained by Dr. J.H. Peabody, who, though a resident of these parts for nearly a quarter of a century, yet lacks the distinction of what, in stereotyped parlance, is denominated an old settler. On either side of these gentlemen ranged other old sportsmen, interspersed with representatives of the Herald, World, Bee and Republican. At the other extremity of the table sat General George S. Smith, vice president of the club, supported by C.B. Lane, the secretary and treasurer, and George E. Kay, one of the members of the board of managers, as also one of the most energetic and useful members of the association. In the middle of the side tables sat the captain of each of the two sides which lately indulged in the hunt, the vanquished in which were taxed with the responsibility of furnishing the feast, at which all had gathered. The captain on the right was Dr. H.A. Worley, whose side consisted of the following huntsmen: John K. Stout, F.S. Parmalee, George E. Kay, H.B. Kennedy, George S. Smith, T.H. Cotter, F.H. Simons, A.S. Patrick, J.B. Evans, Sam Usher, P.B. Eustis, G.S. Mills and J.W. Holmes. The captain on the left was J.J. Hardin, whose subordinates comprised the following: J.W. Petty, J.A. Penrose, C.B. Lane, G.F. Brucker, W.H.S. Hughes, Eugene Finger, Fred Nye, Ed. Leeder, Gus Ichen, John Field, Z.T. Spriggs, Jeff M. Bedford and W.E. Scott.

The captain and members first mentioned were victorious, making a total score of 1,468 points, while Captain Hardin's side made 1,433, thus losing the contest by but thirty-five points. The leader in the shooting was General G.S. Smith, who made a total of 322 points, and this fact seemed to give as much pleasure to the other competitors as it did to the general himself.

Besides these members, the invited quests were B.E.B. Kennedy, Dr. J.H. Peabody, S.B. Hathaway, C.H. Briggs, R.N. Walker, O.H. Gordon, C.J. Williams, J.H. Griffin, W.S. Wing, Henry Grisediech, John Hoyle, C.M. Terrell, J.J. Burns, Walter Phelps, D.F. Lane, C.W. Strock, William Krug, C.C. Williams, H.W. Hyde, John S. Prince, I.W. Campbell, C.S. Capron, R.N. Withnell, Richard Withnell, J.R. Clarkson, G.H. High, O.M. Dorrance, Chas. Balbach, Captain M. Farrell, George B. Eddy, of the Excelsior, E.C. Snyder, Republican, and S. Woodbridge, World.

Among these were a few old sportsmen such as Messrs. Withnell, Kennedy, Dr. Peabody, Hathaway, Parmalee, General Smith, Brucker, Mils and Hoey. The contrast between these and the other sportsmen, young, handsome and energetic, was most striking, except possibly in the case of Parmalee, who, though scarcely beyond his majority, is yet old in the ranks of the hunters.

A more beautiful spread had never been laid in Omaha. The inner edge of the table was garnished with water-cress worked into graceful curves and designs, and relieved at intervals with fresh and fragrant cut roses, of various and beautiful types. At each angle stood a capacious bowl, filled with a nectar not too fine for the bon hommes who delighted in the inspiration which they found in its depths. On its surface floated a snowy substance in a wavy, tremulous manner. Between repositories reposed clusters of fruit, pyramids of pastry with an indefinite variety of delicacies which not alone delighted the taste but was pleasing to the eye.

The guests spent nearly two hours in discussing the following:

Little Neck Clams  Pontet Canet Societie 
Boulion aux Terrapin  Chateau la Rose 
Devilled Crabs, Ganier  Saratoga Chips 
Olives  Celery 
Saddle of Venison, Currant Jelly 
Spitted Wild Goose 
Sweet Potato Croquettes  Wild Turnips 
Squirrel, Jardiner  Snipe on Toast 
Filet of Quail 
Punch, a la Ambrosia  Water Cresses 
Mallard and Red Head Duck, Stuffed with Chestnuts 
Canvas Back Duck, Currant Jelly  Veuve Cliequot 
Blue Bill, Butter Ball Duck, Teal Duck, Prairie Chicken, Ruffed Grouse a la Mayonaise. 
Game Salads 
Fruits Et Dessert. 
After the Battle Plum Pudding 
Brandy Sauce 
Jelly. Kisses.  Macaroons 
California Grapes  Pears 
De Brie  Edam 
Cafe noir, can de Vie.
"Good! Yet remember
What thou hast on board." 

Audubon, in his time, and especially in his works on bird life, which live after, did much to cultivate a taste for winged creatures, both in the field and upon the table, but it was hearty good cheer, invigorating appreciation, and withal a refined epicurean sense, which caused the features mentioned to be appreciated, as the delightful spread deserved. Course followed course with mechanical regularity, and the pleasant smile, the hearty yet subdued laughter, and grateful murmur of conversation, which just filled the room, told of the appeal to the senses which had been made in many ways. The wines, too, were excellent, and found hearty appreciation with every gentleman who felt disposed to indulge in them.

The credit of the banquet, and a great credit it is, belongs primarily, of course, to the Millard. But to Mr. C.E. Smith, whose genial presence watched over and made more homelike the pleasant affair, the pronounced success of the spread, the garnishment it displayed, the manner in which it was served by a corps of twenty waiters, belongs. Nothing was left undone. Everything conducing to the comfort of the guests had been anticipated, and as a consequence their wants were supplied before, indeed, they could give expression to them.

When the cigars were reached, General Smith, after an interesting preface of a few words, facetiously called upon President Bedford to explain how it was that his score happened to bear a strong likeness to the cipher. This Mr. Bedford said could be easily explained by the statement that he had been caught in the swamps at Florence.

Then followed a series of toasts responded to by General Smith, B.E.B. Kennedy and others. The latter referred to the existence of the old Omaha Sportsmen's club, of which, organized as it had been about twenty-five years before, he saw but one face he remembered. In those days, too, they used to have club hunts with, however, but five members on a side. But the club grew until it had forty members. In those days also the man who acted as leader, achieved the title by a count of sixty-one points, which was in singular contrast with that of the two hundred and more points which had, this year, earned that distinction for General Smith. Around him he was what was apparent in the streets of Omaha, strange faces on all sides. There was a time when he used to know everybody. Now he could scarcely enumerate a dozen of those present who were not strangers to him. In those days when they met for their annual club supper at Harry Wilson's saloon, he knew all the members. These facts made him feel that he was growing old. When twenty-five years ago he had learned to shoot, he never thought he would shoot as long as he had, but he would continue to shoot as long as it was permitted him so to do. He perhaps was not so sure of foot nor accurate in sight as some of his eagle-eyed young companions but was still devoted to the sport and was pleased to see that there were so many other young folks who loved it equally with himself.

Other toasts were responded to by Dr. Worley, J.J. Hardin, Dr. Hyde, Yank Hathaway, C.E. Snyder, of the Republican, the Bee representative, J.R. Clarkson, and Dr. Peabody. It is regretted that even a summary of these remarks, which were quite happy, is forbidden for want of space.

President Bedford closed the banquet by stating that if the guests had enjoyed the evening as well as the club had enjoyed their presence the ambition of the latter would be attained.

The gathering then retired.