1895 The Fourth Nephew

January 5

Joe’s sister Katherine Brady joins him at his house on High Street. She’s a widow and, sadly, both her children have passed away. She is his only sister and younger than he, but her health is not good. He is very happy to welcome her to his home. It took some convincing on his part. With the help of his nephews, he moves her in on this Saturday.

January 8

The Shop is fairly busy. The winter has been better than last year. As happened last January, they have several ice cream and candy making customers who need repairs and some new parts. Orders from Vincent Vaccaro, Canover Ice Cream and the Darby Candy Co. are for new jacket kettles. A good start again to the year. Joe divvies the work between his crew. Joe’s confident he might have a better year. Confident, but cautious.

February 6

George Herman “Babe” Ruth is born in Baltimore. Pigtown to be more specific. He will become possibly the most well-known Baltimorean in the world.

March 5

Joe receives a call from Monumental Distillery. They are inquiring about a large 70 gallon still. These are big and a challenge to install. Joe dispatches Martin to take some drawings or tracings(as they called them) of the building. Meanwhile, the crew stays occupied by more cookers and a boiler job from Codd. The usual brass bearings, gaskets and fittings. A stiffener is curved from a steel bar to support the tank of the boiler. Joe’s phone rings a few times every day. It certainly is a convenience though Joe will weary of answering it.

March 9

The Primrose Quartet takes a Saturday train to New York City. They have some gigs to play in the big city. A St. Paddy’s Day event. Several more in the NE that will keep Joe and his friends on the road for a month. Johanna is none too pleased. She has told her husband, Joe, that this cannot go on much longer. She’s running her parents’ boarding house and caring for two small boys. Also, her mom and dad are considering selling the boarding house. They would like to move to a smaller home. James, Johanna’s Dad, would like to consider retirement in a few years. Joe listens, but is skeptical of his in-laws ever selling their rooming house. He and his pals leave. Promising to return in early April.

April 11

The Shop’s phone keeps ringing. Joe is starting to despise this device which interrupts his day. He loves the work. I am sure, but is unaccustomed to these distractions. One call is long distance from Atlanta. Meyer and Company. They inquire about 2- 40 gallon stills custom designed for their building.

Joe speaks to Martin. Martin will take the train tomorrow and be back by Monday. The crew are working on their assorted cooking kettles and pots. As well as some small parts for a carbonating system. The boys are busy which makes Uncle Joe happy.

April 18

It’s Opening Day in Baltimore. There are high hopes for the team this year. They finished in first place last year, but lost to the Giants(2nd place team) in the Temple Cup. A travesty to many an Orioles fan. This year will be different is the rallying cry. The Kavanagh crew spend part of their day predicting how the club will do and how they will finish. Martin has returned from Atlanta with his etchings and Joe has quoted a price to fabricate and install the 2 stills. The owners of Meyer’s assure Joe that he will receive an order within days. Joe will have to plan a group trip for the installation. Martin will take the lead with several others along to assist. Alas, the Orioles lose to the Phillies on opening day, but drub them 23-4 in the next game.

May 22

Things have really picked up for the Joseph Kavanagh Company. The phone keeps ringing to Joe’s chagrin. He’s thrilled for the upturn in jobs, but hates that ringing. Joe has a small makeshift office in the very front of the Shop. A desk, some files and the phone. Joe still prefers the Shop to his office. Today Martin has two boys with him at Mount Brewery on Pratt Street. They have a beer vat on the cart to deliver and install. The rest of the men are working on three stills. Two for Meyers in Atlanta and one for Wight Distillery in Cockeysville.

May 30

The Primrose Quartet has been offered a spot on a Canadian Tour this summer. Some of Joe’s old music cronies who he used to travel and sing with. He takes the offer as do his three friends. He’s anxious, but concerned about Johanna’s reaction. The tour would run from June to August. Her response is predictable. She is vehemently opposed. She encourages him to find a “real” job that is local. She makes it clear to him that since they married she has made more money at the boarding house then he has singing and selling insurance. He needs to stay and work. Also, help with the boys. Joe is already committed and he has no intention of changing his mind.

June 1

The Primrose Quartet take a train to Boston. Johanna does not see them off.

June 10

Martin takes a train to Atlanta with Eugene and two helpers. The stills were freighted there last week. They will spend the better part of this week installing said stills. At the same time, Joe and the remaining crew have an emergency steamship repair. The usual. A ballast pump-chamber and a new stack. They jump right on it and knock it out. Joe is building up a backlog again. His confidence is growing that they are headed in the right direction.

June 22

Johanna is told by her parents, James and Mary Long, that they have a buyer for the boarding house. They are going to sell, but will stake her some money to find a place. She is worried, but quickly turns that into happiness for her parents. They can buy a smaller house and James may be able to retire sooner rather than later. He is a simple laborer. Not an easy job for an older gentleman. Johanna searches for a small home for her and her boys.

July 16

Joe’s sister Katherine dies. She has been dizzy and very confused lately. Signs of dementia. Dr. Dausch has visited her several times with no improvement. She has a sudden stroke on this Tuesday. The Kavanaghs mourn her especially her brothers. Patrick and Joe discuss that trip from Ireland so long ago when they were all children. The third brother, James, will return to Baltimore from NY for the funeral.

July 31

Joe’s workers are very busy. Joe has decided to return to the six day work week. He has nearly a month of a backlog now. The calls and orders are coming in from far and wide now. Another trip for Martin is planned. This time to Cleveland, Ohio to visit a distillery. The rest of the crew are making beer vessels for George Bauernschmidt’s Brewery on Belair Road and some commercial pots. A long hot day. The boys discuss the Birds, of course. They are in third place behind the Cleveland Spiders and the Pittsburgh Pirates. A close race so far.

August 10

The Bank Street boarding house is sold. The Longs move to Conkling Street. Johanna is able to move with her boys into 324 S. Eden Street. She uses the money from her parents for a down payment. She asked Uncle Joe for help, as well. Not money, but some assistance with the move. Joe and the nephews help relocate Johanna to Eden Street. She then asks Uncle Joe for a true favor. She asks him to offer the younger Joe a job. He’s no coppersmith, but he needs a local job to keep him here. Uncle Joe will consider it. Johanna’s husband has been sending letters and has called her several times. She implored him to return, but he is dead set against leaving the tour early. She neglects to inform him that she is moving.

August 11

After mass, Joe spends the afternoon alone on High Street. He gives great thought to his namesake the singing Joe. He has dinner on Albemarle with Patrick and his family. After the meal, he sits with Patrick sipping a glass of rye. Joe asks his brother for his thoughts on this. Patrick, of course, would love it if his number 2 son would get off the road. He’s 29 now. He needs to give up foolish things and grow up. Joe listens to his brother. He will make the offer of a job, but does not know how his nephew will react. If he takes it, at the very least he can answer the damn phone.

August 28

The middle of a long busy week for the Shop. A municipal fountain is being made by Eugene and James while the rest work on some beer vessels and stills. The orders have begun to pile up. The phone rings just after lunch. Joe curses it and rushes into the office from the Shop. It’s his nephew, Joe, He is back in Baltimore, but can’t find his wife. She’s not on Bank Street and neither are her parents. His last several phone calls went unanswered. Where is she is his question for his uncle. Joe gives him the new address. Uncle Joe tells Joe where Jo lives. (Sorry, I really couldn’t help myself, but to include that sentence). He also asks his nephew to come visit him at the Shop tomorrow. He needs to speak to him about something. Young Joe agrees and makes his way to Eden Street. He finds his wife and sons in the small row house. His small boys greet him while his wife displays a high level of indifference. After the boys are asleep, they have a long discussion. Jo does most of the talking. She again reiterates that he is not making enough money singing, traveling and even selling insurance. The boarding house is gone and she can not take another job. And, she is pregnant. She tells him to go see his uncle. Joe sleeps uneasily on the couch that night.

August 29

Young Joe visits his uncle’s Shop in the late morning. Uncle Joe speaks frankly to his nephew. Man to Man or Joe to Joe, as it were. He is not angry, but he makes it clear that the younger Joe must find work here. He must do what’s right for his family. He offers him a job. General Manager and Public Relations. Uncle Joe would pay him to answer the phone, speak to customers and help with the business end of things. This part has never been Uncle Joe’s forte. He had George Smith at the beginning. Since then, he’s done all this himself with some help from Martin. The older Joe would like the younger to handle promotion of the business, as well. They are growing again and work seems plentiful. Uncle Joe envisions Martin running the Shop while Joe runs the office. Joe’s big personality and his connections on the East Coast could benefit the Shop. He makes his nephew an offer he can hardly refuse. The other Joe pauses, enjoying for several more seconds his crazy, fun musical touring life, then he accepts. He knows it is for the best. He also knows it is what Johanna wants. Joseph A. Kavanagh becomes the fourth nephew and fifth Kavanagh to work at the Shop. He will start the following Monday.

September 2

Joseph A. arrives at the Shop for his first day of work at 9:45 am. His uncle curtly informs him that we start at 8 here.(Variations of this phrase are uttered at the Shop for generations.) His uncle immediately takes Joe into the Shop. He begins showing him what they do and how they do it. He then takes him into the office and proceeds to run through their customers. He gives his nephew a long list of businesses and their owners and managers. He needs Joe to learn this list and get comfortable with it. Joe is a bit shell-shocked, but is trying to adapt. He will learn all he can as fast as possible. Uncle Joe leaves him in the office to get acclimated.

September 30

The Orioles win the Pennant. Finishing in first again. They will square off against the second place Cleveland Spiders for the Temple Cup. The crew is excited. They hope it won’t be the same as last year. They are split up today. Uncle Joe and James are working on a 10 gallon patent medicine still. Martin has a crew at Orient Distilling while Eugene has some men with him at Globe Brewing. Repairs at both places. The few other employees are making pans and prepping for the next project. Young Joe is not thrilled with his new job. He does like dealing with people and his personality is one that lends itself to this sort of thing. He is engaging and interesting to speak with and that adds a level of trust to the relationship. He is learning names and companies very quickly. Plus, there is a certain cache to being Joe Kavanagh at the Joseph Kavanagh Company. (Believe me. I know.) All things being equal, he’d rather be singing, but this isn’t too bad.

October 14

The Shop is a quiet, but busy building. Quiet because once again the Orioles have lost the Temple Cup. The Cleveland Spiders beat them 4 games to one. At least, we got a victory this time. The workers are spread through the Shop working on a variety of items. Distilling and brewing equipment as always, but also some industrial bearings, fixtures and fittings. These will be used in a large boiler system. The crew is somber, but they are making money. Far more important than the Orioles. Well, maybe not far but certainly more important. The boys get over it and are in better spirits by the end of the month.

November 27

Joe’s crew are wrapping up a few things before Thanksgiving. The next day. A few jobs to get out the door. A still to install at Melvale and a handful of cookers needed for the approaching holiday. The boys work well as a unit. Young Joe seems to be adjusting to his new job. There’s a certain excitement in quoting a job and then receiving it. His personality and charm, you might say, have helped him form some relationships with a few customers already. He has taken to singing at the Shop on occasion. A little levity in the middle of the day or some entertainment. Uncle Joe was a bit surprised at first, but the crew seem to get a kick out of it so he’s fine with it too. At the end of the day, Martin asks Uncle Joe if he may fill a few bottles with their homemade rye. He tells Joe it’s for a few of his friends in the distilling industry. For the holiday, to keep us in their minds. It’s not the first time someone has filled a bottle or two to take home. Uncle Joe and the rest leave for the night. Martin fills four bottles.

December 24

Per tradition, Young Joe sings on the Lombard Street Bridge. The other members of the Primrose Quartet are there too. They sing together before their friends and family. “Oh Holy Night” and several other tunes. The Kavanaghs will have a very fine holiday with great hopes for a New Year. Both Young Joe and Eugene will be fathers again early next year. And, Johanna is happy to have her husband at home and working. In fact, the whole family is rather happy about that too. They do love his singing though.




Grover Cleveland is the President of the United States. Volleyball is invented by William C. Morgan. George Selden receives a U. S. patent for the automobile. The first public golf course opens. Van Cortlandt in NY. Buster Keaton, Gracie Allen and Jack Dempsey are born.

There are still 44 states in the Union.

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