Birds of Nebraska: Newspaper Accounts, 1854-1923

[E.C. Snyder]. October 24, 1886. Omaha Republican p. 8.

A Feast on Fowl.

Gun Club and Guests.

A Magnificent Banquet at the Millard Hotel—Toasts and Relics—The Menu—A List of Guests.

There is something in the nature of men that makes them love sport, either hunting or fishing, not because of the desire they may have to prove themselves Isaac Waltons by killing or taking large bags of game, but because it brings a cessation from every day duties and health and rest result. As the years go by men seem to take a great interest in the rod and gun because they need recreation from their vocations.

Last evening a banquet was given at the Millard hotel in honor of the sportsmen who were fortunate enough to be on the winning side in the recent club hunt. It was the second annual banquet of the Omaha club and since the organization of the club a finer spread has never been given. It was essentially a game banquet, the members of the club having contributed the game they bagged toward the supper; and representative game birds had a place on the covers to the exclusion of everything else.

At 9 o'clock representative business men, lawyers, doctors, and members of the press to the number of sixty gathered in the parlors of the Millard, waiting until the order was given to move to the banquet hall. It was but a short time after when Mr. Jeff Bedford, president of the Omaha Gun Club, notified the guests that the table was spread for the feast.

On entering the hall a large white crane first met the gaze, suspended from the ceiling and hanging in the center of the banqueting board, which had been arranged in the form of a hollow square, with fifteen covers on a side. Ferns and rare exotics added to the scene, which was one of beauty. Smilax and cut flowers were twined around the table, while large pyramids of flowers added their mite to the appropriate surroundings.

After the gentlemen had found the places assigned to them by the committee, Mr. Bedford, in calling the body to order, said: "Gentlemen of the Omaha Gun Club and invited guests, it affords me great pleasure to welcome you to this second annual club banquet. While 'tis true we are here on invitation of the losing side in a celebrated hunt, still I think we are none the less welcome, and as I am a member of the losing side myself, I bid you a warm welcome to this banquet, trusting that you will heartily enjoy yourselves." The company then seated themselves and discussed an elaborate bill of fare.

The service under the direction of O.N. Davenport, the steward of the hotel, was all that could have been desired and the punch, brewed by J.J. Hetherington, head bar-man, will be remembered for its fine flavor and its potency too. The banquet was without doubt the finest ever enjoyed in this city. The chef thoroughly understood the requirements of the gentlemen who were present and an epicure could not have been better pleased.

There was a noticeable absence of formality in the responses to the toasts which made the occasion still more pleasurable. After the coffee and cigars had been served General George Smith arose and called upon the president of the evening, Mr. Bedford, to relate his experience while on the hunt, having learned, said he, that The Republican accused the worthy president of being submerged in a bog.

Mr. Bedford in his modest way replied to the accusation by stating that the paper had been misinformed evidently by Mr. Cotter, who had obtained the ear of the reporter first. He then related his experience in not being able to bag any game and wound up by proposing the health of General Geo. S. Smith, "the champion scorer and handsomest member of the Omaha Gun Club."

General Smith in responding to the health proposed said" "That toast is wrongly stated. The first part is eminently true because it is historic. The second part is open to grave questioning. I would not do justice to the men of this club or myself did I not expose my gratitude to the members of the club for this pleasant manifestation of their open-heartedness. I want to say I congratulate the captain of the winning side in choosing his men and I am delighted to have been one of them. During all my nimrodic experience, if you will allow the use of the word, I never saw such a bag of game and I am delighted I am enjoying this supper at the expense of somebody else."

Mr. B.E.B. Kennedy, President of the Omaha Sportsmen's Club, called "The Owls," than indulged in a retrospect. His speech, which was largely historical, dealing with things connected with early hunting in Nebraska, was listened to with interest.

Messrs. J.B. Hathaway, J.R. Clarkson and Dr. Peabody finished the list of speakers, and then the most successful banquet ever held by the Omaha Gun Club came to an end.

The Gentlemen Present.

Omaha Gun Club—H.A. Worley, John K. Stout, F.S. Parmalee, George E. Kay, H.B. Kennedy, George S. Smith, T.H. Cotter, Sam Penrose, C.B. Lane, Gooley F. Brucker, Eugene Finger, Ed. Leeder, Gus Ichen, John Field, Jeff. W. Bedford, J.J. Haskins.

Invited Guests—The Hon. B.E.B. Kennedy, Dr. J.H. Peabody, S.B. Hathaway, C.H. Briggs, R.H. Walker, O.H. Gordon, C.J. Williams, J.H. Griflin, W.S. Wing, Henry Greisedrieck, St. Louis; John Hoye, Colonel C.M. Terrell, J.J. Barnes, Walter Phelps, D.F. Lane, C.W. Strock, Wm. Krug, C.C. Williams, Dr. H.W. Hyde, John S. Prince, John Campbell, C.I. Capron, R.M. Withnell, J.R. Clarkson, G.H. High, Sidney, Neb.; Charles Balbach, Captain M. Farrell, Geo. B. Eddy, Excelsior; Wm. Blood, Herald; Ed. O'Brien, Bee; Sans Woodbridge, World; and The Republican.