The arrival of the New Year of 1914 in Omaha was joyous but marred by minor shooting mishaps that authorities were anxious to eliminate. The Sunday World-Herald on January 4, 1914, said: “A new society may be organized in South Omaha this year. It is to be known as the Spugs.
“It will not be modeled after the pattern of the eastern organization, which is the society for prevention of useless giving [formed in 1912]. The South Omaha organization will be a society for the prevention of useless gunning. The best work of the society will be done about New Year’s. The safe and sane July 4 has been widely promoted. It seems to be up to some one here to start a movement for the safe and sane celebration of New Year’s eve.
“Of the number of accidents that occurred Wednesday night during the weird medley of whistles and gun shots, four are on record here. None of these accidents will prove fatal, it is thought. Mike Petrick, who lives in the all-nation arcade at Twenty-seventh and Q streets, left his room shortly before 12 o’clock and went out on the walk to say good morning to the new year. As the first whistle blew a shot was fired and Petrick found he could not use his right leg. He was taken to the South Omaha hospital, where he will be confined for some weeks. The police have been unable to find out who fired the shot.
“Mike Lobiski, living near Twenty-ninth and J streets, has a broken finger as the result of an effort to make some midnight noise. He was hurrying out the front gate with a shotgun in his hands. The index finger of his right hand was on the trigger. In his hurry the gun barrel caught in the gate, twisting the trigger finger so that the member snapped at the first joint.
“Tel Aninkis, Twenty-eighth and R streets, has a badly burned face. Powder caused the burn when a companion discharged a gun close to Tel’s face. Jan Lanalkiv, Fortieth and P streets, has a badly burned right foot. He was shooting blank cartridges at the ground and got one of his feet in the way.”
Another Omaha man celebrated his New Year’s holiday with a tasty chicken dinner-plus forty-one bits of gold he found in the chicken’s gizzard. The pieces ranged in size from tiny pellets to a strip half an inch in length. It was, he told the World-Herald, “some New Year’s chicken.”
The World-Herald said: “Mr. Fisher has not yet weighed the gold, nor submitted it to an analysis but estimates its value, however, at not less than $30. . . . Neither Mr. Fisher nor the proprietor of the market [where it was purchased] can trace the fowl. It came to the market with a lot of others from a local beef house. Apparently the gold was picked up in the sand, Mr. Fisher believes, but he has not yet started on a hunt for the gold mine.”
John Nelson’s photograph of a 1909 calendar on a postcard, perhaps sent at New Year’s, depicts a little girl pointing to a watch. NSHS RG3542-247