1890 The Second Nephew

January 2

A new year begins with the Shop full of a variety of distillery work. Repair and replacement of parts and stills. The winter has had little effect on the volume of work so far. During the holidays, Joe has spoken to his brother, Patrick. They discuss Patrick’s son, Eugene, working at the Shop. He’s still in school, but he will start working over the summer. Patrick is happy that his brother is offering to teach and train his son. Joe will be glad to have another Kavanagh to work alongside him. This idea of working at the Shop for the summer while in high school becomes Shop tradition.

January 22

The Maverick, America’s first steel tanker ship, is built at the Columbian Iron Works in Baltimore.

February 1

Young Joe returns triumphantly to Baltimore on this Saturday. The family is thrilled at his return. He regales them all on stories of his tour of Europe. Tales of folks he met and the places he’s seen. Long stories of his performing “before the crowned heads of Europe” and others. These tales are passed down through the generations. The Kavanaghs have an impromptu party. It is a joyful event full of music and glad times. Young Joe will be staying until the Spring. His plan is to return North at that point. He will rejoin his troupe in Boston or New York once the weather is warmer.

March 3

Joe’s crew is pounding out the work. Stills, beer vats and jacket kettles are manufactured and sent to customers. Joe is proud of his team. His crew works hard for him and the work won’t stop rolling into the building. He’s on the cusp of a new level of success whether he knows it or not.

March 8

Most of the Kavanaghs spend a Saturday evening at St. Patrick’s Church. The parish has organized a night of music for the neighborhood. No one has to twist Young Joe’s arm to get him to sing. Always one to put himself forward, he sings with several acquaintances and performs several solos. His deep baritone fills the church and he receives a hearty round of applause. As he exits the stage, he sees a beautiful young girl. After the music stops, folks gather for some refreshments. Young Joe moves through the crowd of handshakes and greetings searching for this girl. Finally, he finds her. He smiles and introduces himself. He tells her to just call him Joe. She laughs and says you can do the same. Her name is Johanna Long.

Johanna Long is the daughter of James Long and Mary Mahoney Long. Both from Ireland. They emigrated then met and married here. James is already deceased. Mary and Johanna run a boarding house on Bank Street. They reside there and have four rooms to rent.

March 15

Young Joe visits Mary and Johanna Long. He would like to begin courting Johanna. Mary approves and Joe will accompany Johanna and Mary to mass on the next day. Joe delays his return to performing up North.

May 12

A week begins for the Shop. This time a range of jobs to be done. A steamship stack, cookers, beer vessels and some boiler work. Joe quietly watches his crew in action. Martin is again in Western Maryland prepping for another still. Joe is anxiously awaiting Eugene to finish the school year. He looks forward to another nephew becoming an apprentice.

May 30

Young Joe Kavanagh escorts Johanna Long to dinner. She turns 18 today. Joe is very taken with her. She finds him at the very least entertaining. His stage experience has added to his charm and humor. Not to mention advancing his singing skills and confidence. He will be returning to his troupe the following week. After walking her home, he assures Johanna that he will return soon to see her.

June 9

Eugene Kavanagh becomes the 3rd Kavanagh to work at the Shop. Not quite 16, he is nervous. Joe will train Eugene himself. This will take time as it has with all his apprentices. Still, Joe is excited. Eugene starts things off as most Kavanagh boys will for generations. He cleans. He sweeps. Before long he will be instructed in handling and heating copper. The family business gets more family in it.

July 7

Another week of work begins at the Shop. A hot day even for June. At the same time, some of the younger Kavanaghs and their friends are enjoying a day at a local swimming hole, the Union Dock. Tragedy occurs. Vincent De Paul Kavanagh gets caught in the tide. He goes under and drowns. A month shy of his 10th birthday, Vincent dies. The family is heartbroken. This is the second of Patrick and Katherine Kavangh’s sons to pass away. The boy is buried at St. Vincent De Paul’s Cemetery. The family, again, rallies together and rests on their faith. A child’s death is the most difficult to grieve. It’s an incomplete life. A life interrupted and ended so abruptly.

August 16

A very hot humid work week ends on this Saturday. The family is moving forward, but struggling. The Shop is humming along with jobs. Eugene seems to be taking a liking to working at the Shop. Joe is now teaching him what he needs to know. How to anneal copper. Softening it so it can be bent. How to curve and angle copper sheet and block. He’s just a beginner, but clearly has some skill working with his hands. Young Joe is back in Baltimore. He returned for his little brother’s funeral and has lingered primarily because of Johanna. He is still selling insurance policies when he can as a side gig. In the next month, he will hit the road again.

September 1

Eugene Kavanagh returns to St. Patrick’s school. He learned a great deal during his first summer at the Shop. Joe was quite pleased at his quick progress. The crew are working on several rather large beer vessels and another fancy brass railing for one of the hotels in town. Joe takes some time today to speak to Martin about the business and what lies ahead for them. Joe trusts Martin more and more. Joe envisions a future with Martin running the Shop and his younger brothers working with him.

November 18

The Shop is focused today on a 40 gallon still that will be shipped to Pennsylvania. This one, due to the structure of the distillery must be disassembled then reassembled inside the facility. A more complicated unit, but not inordinately. The layout of the building is something that must be accounted for in any still construction. Joe always finds a way to fit what the customer needs into their facility. Again, his skill and ingenuity are on display. The unit is manufactured and sent off on its way.

December 25

Christmas is a merry one despite the sad passing of Vincent. The family is glad to be together. It’s particularly joyous as Young Joe has returned and promptly proposed marriage to Johanna Long. He has told her he’s traveled the world just to find her here in Baltimore. She accepts as they seem to be very much in love. Uncle Joe is happy for his namesake. He still wishes he would have come to work for him, but he understands that despite the name being the same, they are not the same Joe.




Benjamin Harrison is the President of the United States. Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray” is published. The National American Woman Suffrage Association and the Daughters of the American Revolution are both founded. Army beats Navy 24-0 in the first Army/Navy game. Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks are established. Robert Ripley, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Groucho Marx are born.

In July, Idaho and Wyoming become the 43rd and 44th states respectively.

My great-great grandfather James Long's pocketwatch.
Johanna Long (older sister on the right) with her parents and sister circa 1880.



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