1884 Year Nineteen

January 2

The New Year starts cold. The Shop’s crew works on a 40 gallon still. It’s not sold or ordered, but Joe decides to make it as a sample. The work is trickling. Of course, it’s just the beginning of the year. Joe wants this unit to be as exact and the pots as truly round as possible. A nearly perfect still to display to his distiller customers. He’s confident the economy will turn around.

February 9

The Kavanaghs gather on Albemarle Street. A big meal to discuss the family and the week. Katherine has received a letter from Young Joe. He’s written monthly since leaving Baltimore. He’s been performing periodically in Boston. Singing and also as piano accompaniment. The money is light so, he took a job in an insurance office. He hates the Boston winter. He’s hoping to catch on with a traveling troupe. He’ll see the country and hopefully get away from the cold.

April 2

Spring has arrived with an influx of work. Martin has the crew working on a condenser for Monticello Distilling and the usual jacket kettles. Joe tinkers with the large still in his building. Carefully examining, measuring and taking notes. He wants to be sure they can reproduce this unit as accurately as possible.

June 11

The firm of Joseph M. Kavanagh, Coppersmith is having a good week. A mix of everything they do has tweaked the work up. A ship’s emergency stack repair, six large commercial kettles and the sale of a 40 gallon continuous still have all hit at the same time. They will have to duplicate Joe’s big still for Orient Distilling. Joe knows you have to do the work while it is out there. They work extra hours today to finish the stack. Tomorrow, the crew will split between the two other projects. A letter to home informs the Kavanaghs that Young Joe has caught on with a minstrel troupe. He’ll be seeing the country, just not this one. The tour heads north for summer shows in Canada.

July 9

The Orient 40 gallon still is ready. The install will take all day and requires four men plus Joe & Martin. Joe supervises every step of the installation. He watches silently, but for the occasional instruction. Martin and the crew discuss the last Oriole baseball game. Another loss during a losing streak. This time to the Louisville Eclipse. A close one. 4-3, but still a loss. Joe is not the fan that his nephew and the younger fellows are. He listens, but focuses on the job. For the workers, discussing the last game or the team in general is a pleasant way to pass a long day. That is still true at the Shop. When the job is finished, they head back to 16. W. Lombard and then home.

September 30

An Indian Summer presents another hot day at the Shop. The work is steady right now and the boys are busy. Joe is restless nonetheless. Oncoming winter is always a concern. News from Young Joe is that he will stay with this troupe as it moves south across the mid-west. Finally, he’ll see more of the U. S.

November 22

A cool, but sunny Saturday is spent on some small distilling parts. Not the stills, but some latches, tubes and man-hole covers. Joe is still thinking about the winter. He knows this year has turned out better than expected. He decides to trust that it will be fine. Perhaps, it will be a mild winter. The milder the weather. The more work there will be. The Kavanaghs are excited for Young Joe has promised to return for the holidays.

December 25

Christmas with the Kavanaghs. Alice and her children and her children’s children gather for a holiday feast. Young Joe is home for a week. He will re-join his touring troupe in Atlanta. They are all together for the holiday. This is especially important because Joe’s brother, James, has told them he and his family are moving to Brooklyn, NY. His wife has family there. James works as a printer at the Baltimore Sun. NY his a mecca for news so, James is confident he will be able to find employment. The holiday is joyful focusing on the children through the day. The evening finds Joe in discussion with his brothers, Patrick and James. They discuss James’ impending move. New York was and is a much bigger city than Baltimore. The subject of the Statue of Liberty comes up. James is excited to see it. This massive marvel and salute to America and freedom. Patrick, the ship’s carpenter, wonders at the job they will have to transport it from France to the U. S. Joe listens intently. He concurs with both of them, but for him the marvel is the copper. The sheer amount of copper and work involved in it. To him, it’s an astonishing undertaking.




Chester A. Arthur is the sitting President. In November, New York Governor Grover Cleveland defeats James G. Blaine to become president-elect. The eight-hour work day is established by the Federation of Organized Trades and Unions on May 1. Eventually, this day is celebrated as May Day around the world. The Statue of Liberty’s cornerstone is laid on Bedloe’s Island. The Prime Meridian is set permanently in Greenwich at a conference in DC. The Washington Monument is built. Mark Twain writes “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” Harry Truman and Eleanor Roosevelt are born.

State count remains at 38.

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