1882 Sorrow

January 15

Joe & Mary celebrate their second wedding anniversary. Fr. Didier makes mention of it during the service at St. Vincent’s. After mass with the family, they have a nice dinner out. They talk about the coming baby and make plans as any expectant parents would. They return home to Albemarle to enjoy the rest of their night together.

March 1

Joe spends a busy day finishing a very large still for Sherwood Distilling. His crew working in tandem with him. Joe is always sure to not let their tolerances slip at all. They continue to keep their work to the exacting standards that started their success with stills. In fact, Joe requires his workers maintain that same level of quality in all their work. If such accuracy helps the function of stills, it would do the same for any of his other products. Martin is doing very well and is clearly Joe’s #1 man now. Joe is considering when his nephew, Joe, might join them in the business. The younger Joe will be 16 in July. Perhaps, next year, another Kavanagh will work at the Shop.

May 2

The Baltimore Orioles play their first baseball game ever. A road game in Philadelphia. The Orioles owned by Harry Vonderhorst are new members of the American Association. A pre-cursor to the National League. The Orioles lose to the Athletics, 10-7. They will play their home games at Newington Park and start a long tradition of Orioles baseball in Baltimore. The Kavanaghs, especially Joe’s nephews quickly become passionate fans.

May 7

Joe & his family attend church together, but for Mary, his wife. She’s ill. The baby is not due for several more months. She seems to be developing some sort of rash or red blotches on her skin. She is not too worried, but not up to going to St. Vincent’s. Joe is worried and they decide to have Dr. Dautsch take a look at her on Monday.

May 8

Dr. Pierre Dautsch examines Mary. He seems concerned, but not overly at the moment. He recommends Mary confine herself to her bed. Prescribing as much rest as possible.

May 15

Mary hemorrhages. Dr. Dautsch does all he can to stop the bleeding. He can not. Both Mary and her child die. Joe is inconsolable. Before his eyes, his love, his family, his future is all gone. The Kavanaghs grieve with him but, they can provide little solace. Joe is lost. He doesn’t know what to do. So, he does the only thing he knows. After he buries his family, he goes back to work.

May 25

Martin and his crew are installing a new still. Joe and the rest of the workers labor on four large cooking vessels. Baltimore’s citizens need more places to eat. This keeps the need for kettles going. Joe works through his sorrow. If his craft suffers, he makes up for it by working earlier, later and harder.

July 14

The Shop is still busy with work. The business has hit its stride with the perfect combination of several experienced smiths, hard-working apprentices and an abundance of work. Joe takes little comfort from it. Rather, he uses the volume of work as a reason to spend more time at the Shop. Less time at home. His mother, Alice, worries but trusts that he will heal.

September 7

A small economic correction has hit the nation. The work slows down some. Fortunately, for Joe he stays fairly busy. There are enough varieties of products and services that the Shop offers to keep them working. He does trim his workers’ hours back to 8 per day. He is able to keep all of his employees that way. Joe is determined not to lose any skilled and trained metalsmiths. Today, Martin and the boys work on several repairs and modifications for some distilling equipment. Joe, himself, focuses on tools. He works alone to craft new brass hammers and wooden mallets. He wants to take advantage of this somewhat slow time to build up his assortment of hand tools and clamps. He still works late into the night. Walking the short distance home each evening to Albemarle St. His thoughts to himself.

December 20

A cold winter day at 16 W. Lombard Street, as the Kavanagh crew fights off the chill with heat and hard work. Some smaller copper pans and pots are produced for commercial and private use. Joe still working alone primarily. He puts aside a single-man job for himself every day to avoid contact. He’s mourning in his own way. Martin runs the crew while Joe is unable to do so. Martin, also, begins to have more face to face dealings with customers. Joe is relieved to just heat and hammer alone in silence. Over and over. Just as he did when he started. 17 years ago.




Chester A. Arthur is the President of the United States. The Knights of Columbus is founded by Fr. Michael McGivney. Thomas Edison starts the nation’s first commercial power plant. Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show debuts. Franklin Delano Roosevelt is born. Jesse James and the poets Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Ralph Waldo Emerson die.

Still 38 states in the Union.

Mary Kavanagh’s Death Certificate. May 1882

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