The year has started off cold and very busy. The winter work for candy makers and ice cream companies has arrived. Also, Young Joe has received several calls from southern distilleries. They have two orders for 40 gallon stills for the Spring. When the weather breaks, Martin or one of the other nephews will visit them and take the necessary measurements.
The USS Maine explodes in Cuba’s Havana Harbor. The news of this shocks Americans when they read of it in the newspaper. The Kavanaghs are no different. The Maine explosion essentially begins the Spanish-American War. The Cubans were fighting the Spanish for independence. The Maine stokes American involvement. “Remember the Maine” becomes a rallying cry for the nation including the Shop’s crew. The explosion is discussed in detail as the boys shape their copper. They are working on several kettles for a new DC candy customer, J. W. Hurley. Uncle Joe and his workers will follow the events of the war closely through the daily paper.
It’s a Saturday Opening Day. The Orioles season starts with an 8-3 victory over the Washington Senators. The Shop’s crew are excited for the first game of the year. The Birds are the reigning champions, but this year there will be no Temple Cup. The series has been scrapped due to lack of interest. Attendance was not good for a few reasons and the cup has been retired. This year the teams compete to win the first place pennant and that’s it. While, the workers make their predictions for the season, they work on several different jobs. The biggest being two large beer vats for Globe Brewing.
The U. S. declares war on Spain. The citizens are very supportive of this action. Anger over the Maine disaster has festered. After an investigation, the Navy determines that the Maine was destroyed by a Spanish mine. This is all that is needed. The Kavanaghs and their crew scour the newspaper every day for details and information. They remain quite busy with no sign of a slowdown. The big project of the day is a still installation at Orient Distilling. Eugene takes James and two other gents with him on this one.
The first combat of the war is at the Battle of Manila Bay on May 1. U. S. Naval forces attack the Spanish fleet. The Spaniards are vanquished and must flee the Philippines. I imagine it seemed very far away to the men of the Shop. They read the reports and discussed them. It is 1898. Asia must have been like another planet to them. They are Americans and love their country so they celebrate the victory. This war becomes as much of a topic of discussion as local affairs and, of course, baseball. The Orioles are in second place behind Cincinnati. Today they defeat the New York Giants, 6-4. The Shop is loaded with work. Their schedule is now backed up for a month. Plenty of orders and more on the way. Today, they work on stills and kettles. Martin is in Georgia inspecting and measuring a building for an installation.
Francis Aloysius Kavanagh comes to work at the Shop. His first summer internship. He becomes Joe’s fifth nephew and the sixth Kavanagh in the business. He will be schooled primarily by Uncle Joe. The basic skills of hammering and bending copper. He will be taught to anneal copper. To heat it to the proper temperature to make it flexible. It is a slow process of instruction, but it starts today. The rest of the Shop are tackling a steamship repair. Young Joe’s deal with the ships’ captains continues this summer. A steady flow of brass stacks, parts and pump-chambers will be made.
Eugene Kavanagh is a father again. Mary Ann gives birth to a daughter, Angela. The Kavanagh family continues to grow.
A hot Saturday is spent creating some beer vessels. Large ones for Baltimore Brewing. This is a good size job. A build and install. Meanwhile, Joe works with young Frank. Frank was anxious to come to work this summer. Probably, due to all of his older brothers being there. There is a comaraderie at the Shop. His older brothers are pleased to have him around. He does get the new guy/ baby brother teasing, but he takes it in stride. He feels he is part of the team. The rookie, but part of the team. He listens to his uncle carefully and tries to remember all he can. The Battle of San Juan Hill is discussed at length. The workers speak excitedly of this young hero, Theodore Roosevelt, who led the charge of the Rough Riders to victory. The war seems to be going well for the U. S.
After mass on this Sunday, the Kavanaghs have a small party for Frank. He turns 15 today. He is now a shop employee. He is on his way to adulthood. His brothers do tease and kid him a good deal. He knows it is in good spirits though and he enjoys spending each day with his older brothers and uncle. It is work, but it is family too. The week ahead will see Martin and Eugene go to Cleveland for an installation. Young Joe has two distillers from Pennsylvania coming in for a visit. He has taken well to his job of general manager.
Martin and Mary Rachel welcome another daughter, Regina. This year two baby girls join the clan.
A day of high humidity and heat in the Shop. August is a tough month for coppersmithing. Throwing heat and wielding hammers they disregard the temperature and do their jobs. Martin is in PA for a small quick install. Most of the remaining workers are teaming up on a large steamship repair. Several pump-chambers to be made and a wide range of brass parts. The boys discuss the war or rather the end of it. Hostilities have ceased and a peace agreement will be signed in December. Most definitely a win for the United States. The American sphere of influence and dominance of the Western Hemisphere is clearly evident.
On this Monday, Frank returns to school. He had his first taste of smithing and has done well. He is very anxious to follow in his brothers’ footsteps, but must finish his education first. The Shop is as busy as it has ever been. Uncle Joe loved working with Frank this summer, teaching him and training him. He is just as happy to see the labor cranked out by his older nephews and workers. Young Joe is very much caught up in the rush of work. He spends part of this day singing and dancing through the building. Amusing to the crew, but not unexpected. He is a performer at heart. Sherwood Distilling orders a new 70 gallon rye still. Eugene will shepherd this project completely with James doing all the drawings. Uncle Joe instructs Martin to step back and see how his younger brothers do on their own.
The crew is hard at it today. They are scattered a bit. Martin and Eugene are doing some repairs in New York while Young Joe and James are at Bauernschmidt’s Brewery for a repair job. Also, they discuss some new vessels and other work for their beer system. They speak about the Orioles too. A disappointing second place finish. They finish six games behind the Boston Beaneaters. Boston wins the Pennant as there is no postseason series this year.
The Primrose Quartet gather and sing on the Lombard Street bridge. They are all still local, but they can not all make it every year. This year they do. Joe and his three pals sing into the frosty night. Afterward, Joe sits with his wife, Johanna, and their boys. They are both young tykes still. Both under seven. Joe and Jo discuss the boys working at the Shop. Joe is assured that this could be a good future for his sons. He loves working with his brothers and envisions the same thing for Eddie and Leo, his boys. Johanna is more rational and says that they will just have to wait and see. The Shop has enjoyed its finest year. Financially, Joe has never been more successful. Personally, he is very satisfied. There are six Kavanaghs at the Shop now. Approximately, a third of the crew are family. Joe is 62. The nephews are Martin(36), Joe(32), Eugene(24), James(22) and Frank(15). This truly is a family business. For the first time, Uncle Joe begins to see what his legacy may be.
William McKinley is the President of the United States. America wins the Spanish American War. Joshua Slocum completes his three year circumnavigation of the world. The U. S. annexes the sovereign island nation of Hawaii. The first American automobile is sold. Georgie Jessel, Stephen Vincent Benet and George Gershwin are born.
There are 45 states in the Union.
3 thoughts on “1898 The Fifth Nephew”
Regina was a feisty 4’ 10” lady! She could take on the world all by herself.
I bet. She sounds like a Kavanagh. I’ve met some of her descendants. They seem pretty feisty too!
Love how you have made the story of The Maine relevant as it would have been in everyday family conversation.