1875 Year Ten

February 5

A cold work week comes to an end. After their apprentice leaves for the day, Joe & George discuss their prospects. Joe is determined to carry on, but George is less convinced. The work is going in the wrong direction. It’s not picking up. If anything, it’s dwindling down farther. George is concerned that if this situation continues, they will be left with nothing if the business fails. Joe convinces his partner to give him at least another year. Joe will re-double his efforts with the distilleries. He also recommends that they drop their prices on the smaller household items. Better to make something than nothing on these pieces. George agrees. They will lower some prices and keep working as hard as they can.

March 22

After work, Joe and his mother, Alice walk two doors over to Patrick & Katherine’s house. Today is Joe’s niece, the younger Alice’s 7th birthday. The family enjoys a meal together than throws a small party for her. The family revels in such get-togethers. Simple but fun. Young Alice receives a doll and some small toys. She’s very excited to find out that she will start piano lessons the following week. She’s a precocious young girl who’s been very anxious to follow in her older brothers’ footsteps on the piano. The boys are continuing their lessons. Martin with a little less enthusiasm as he’s getting older. Young Joe, however, spends countless hours working out tunes and songs on the keyboard. They have a wonderful family night of music and celebration.

June 17

Joe visits Orient Distilling again. He presses for an opportunity to work on their stills. The owners have reduced their workforce, so they give him a small opportunity. They will pay a minimal cost, if Joe will service and clean their stills after hours. It’s not much money, but Joe agrees. Things have become so slow for Kavanagh & Smith that they are only open 3 days per week. Now, one of those days Joe and his apprentice will walk to Orient in the early evening. They spend 3-4 hours at night there. Cleaning and fixing small issues with each still. Joe refrains from any adjustments to the individual pots. He knows he could make it more efficient, but he won’t give that away. These once a week maintenance nights are a foot-in-the-door he hopes.

July 4

The country is in jubilant celebration. It’s Independence Day. Next year will be the country’s centennial. People are already excited for next year. It’s as if the Centennial Celebration starts a year early. In Maryland, a small eastern shore beach town opens it’s first hotel. The hotel is the Atlantic. The town is called Ocean City.

July 27

Joe signs a petition in favor of opening up and expanding Albemarle Street. I actually found his signature in the Baltimore City Archives. The Kavanaghs are Irish,, but clearly they are Baltimoreans. Proud of their home town and beginning to be active and involved in it’s politics and the community in general

October 25

The new Baltimore City Hall is dedicated. A large crowd gathers to cheer and commemorate it. I would guess that Joseph Kavanagh was there. He’s shown already his interest in local matters and his city. This particular event would have been very interesting to him. My feeling is he attended the ceremony.

December 5

The Kavanaghs go to mass at St. Vincent’s. They gather together for a large family meal. Another baby is on the way. Katherine is expecting her 6th child. A baby on the way and the impending holidays lift everyone’s spirits even Joe’s. Joe is still worried about the Shop. The night work at Orient has helped certainly. They are still making far less money than before. George Smith has given Joe a promise to stay with him until the next summer. If things do not improve, George is considering a move up North. He’s heard that there are more available jobs in PA or NY. Joe understands and, again, hopes for better times.

Ulysses Grant is the President. Congress passes the Civil Rights Act which prohibits racial discrimination for public accommodations and jury duty. Archbishop John McCloskey of NY is chosen as the first American Roman Catholic Cardinal. The Indian Wars begin in earnest. Brigham Young University is founded in Provo, Utah. Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto #1 is performed for the first time in Boston, Mass. Former President Andrew Johnson dies.

Still 37 states in the Union

Joseph M. Kavanagh’s signature on a petition to widen and open up Albemarle Street. July 1875

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