1923 The Aftermath

January 5

Eddie and Anna’s baby Alice passes away. She was not expected to live long with her health issues. She was a “blue baby” which essentially means she had a defect in her heart. As layman called it, a hole in the heart. The family tries to rally around her parents. It is a tough blow for both Eddie and Anna.

January 9

The funeral for Alice is this morning. It is a Tuesday, but Joe does not close the Shop nor does he attend the funeral. Eddie and Anna bury their child. Eddie arrives at the Shop at noon. The crew is busy with some candy and confectionery kettles and a small rail job.

January 12

The Kavanaghs hold a meeting after work on this Friday. They have to address the Shop’s situation. They will no longer be doing any bootlegging so, they must determine their next move. Joe and James inform Leo, Eddie and Guy that they will need to cut their crew back. The work isn’t there. Eddie argues against it. He believes that they should try to push more into brewery repairs. The breweries are still making “near beer” and it seems to be selling. Joe is adamant that this will not be enough to make the difference. They do have one older coppersmith who retired at the end of the year. He moved south to live with his family. After much discussion, they decide they will cut two coppersmiths and four helpers from the crew. This will bring their crew down to 25 men. They will see how the year goes, but they may need to cut more. Eddie will have to smooth it out with Union Local #80. They have kept their crew intact for a long time. It should not be a problem to have a reduction in the number of workers needed. When Eddie receives his pay after the meeting, he learns that his father has docked him for the time missed at his daughter’s funeral. He can’t believe it. Anna can not believe it. Eddie’s brother Leo can not believe it. Joe and Eddie have never been close and butted heads frequently, but this causes a distance between them that lasts for the rest of Joe’s life. To not close the Shop and not attend his granddaughter’s funeral is one thing, but to dock his son for going seems egregious and unnecessarily cruel. Eddie never discusses it with his father. He never tells his mother and asks Anna not to do so. He returns to work as if nothing has changed, but it has.

February 16

Another cold week passes at the Shop. The candy and ice cream kettles are keeping them steady if not busy. Copper sheet is heated and curved into cylinders for each kettle. The tops and bottoms are fabricated and attached. The same is done to any necessary fittings and valves. They are avoiding working Saturdays if at all possible to stay busy during the week.

March 17

A St. Patrick’s Day party is held at Joe and Johanna’s house on Collington Avenue. Today is a Saturday and the Shop is closed. They not only celebrate their heritage, but Joe’s and James’ brother Frank has returned for a visit. He has been working as a coppersmith at the Panama Canal for several years. He comes home when he can which is not often. The Kavanaghs gather for a large party. Frank’s brothers are there with their families as is his sister, Sally, with her family. His brother Martin’s daughters, Kitty, Regina and Mary are there. Martin had passed several years prior. They play music and sing together as they have not in years. Eddie plays the piano, Leo the mandolin and Frank the violin. Joe leads the singing in his deep baritone while the rest of the family joins in. They play some Irish favorites like Cruiskeen Lawn and Irish Exile. There is much food and a little drink. It is Prohibition, but Joe always seems to have some stash of rye. Enough for a few toasts. Joe’s niece and god-daughter, Kitty tells Joe that she has been visiting her husband, Jack Hart as much as she can at the Maryland Penitentiary. Twice a month is the most permitted. She says she misses him a great deal and he feels the same. He still insists he will come for her some day. Joe shakes his head and tells her that she and Jack should accept that he will be in prison for a long time. The family catches Frank up on the Jack Hart situation. They do not tell him about the bootlegging they were doing with Jack. They tell him all about the Norris murder and Jack’s involvement. Otherwise, the focus is on how Frank is doing and how long will he stay. His sister-in-law brings his son, Charles. Frank misses his family, but his son most of all. Frank tells his family that he will stay for about six weeks. He will then return to Baltimore for good next year.

April 23

A warm spring day starts this week at the Shop. The crew work on some brass bearings and fittings. Several beer vats are being fabricated for National Brewery. The crew is still steady, but not swamped. . At noon today, Frank comes in to visit the Shop. He walks around and takes a good look at the place. He worked here for about five years until resigning in 1916. He needed to move on after his wife’s death which followed his older son’s death. He has a long lunch with his brothers, James and Joe. They speak of their older brother Martin and how the three of them walked out on him and formed their own company. It was 17 years ago yesterday when they broke off on their own. Of course, it proved to be the wise move as Martin was out of business in less than three years. They reminisce further. Talking about their brother Eugene who was killed in 1903 in a train wreck. It’s hard for them to believe that it has been twenty years since the accident. They speak of their family. Their mother who now lives in Philadelphia. They all wish she were closer, but it was her wish to move back to where her side of the family live. James and Joe will visit her this year. They try to take the train up at least once a year. Last year was a crazy one and they did not have the chance. They call her often and she writes letters regularly as she always has done.

May 7

Frank leaves Baltimore again. He boards a train to New York and will sail from there to Panama. His brothers escort him to the station and bid him farewell. Joe and James then head to the Shop. Eddie and several boys are laboring on an installation at National Brewery. The beer vats are installed one at a time. The vat is hauled in the Shop’s truck. Then it is muscled into the building. They balance the vat then begin attaching it to the existing brewing system. Each vat takes several days to complete. While part of the crew are at the brewery, the rest are prepping the next vat. It is a nice bit of work for the Shop.

May 10

A fountain is being shaped and curved today in the Shop. A typical spring day is interrupted at 1:30 p.m. Two police cars drive along Central Avenue and pull to a stop in front of the building. Four officers, Dawson, Mayo, McNeill and Springate rush into the Shop. They call out loudly to anyone who can hear that they are looking for Jack Hart. Joe hurries out of his office as the crew stare in disbelief. Officers McNeill and Springate climb the stairs to the second floor. Joe asks the two who remain why they are looking for Jack. He is in prison. Officer Dawson replies that he has escaped. The Kavanaghs are stunned. They can not believe it. Joe quickly begins telling Officer Dawson that they have not seen Jack Hart. He is not here. Officer Mayo is looking over the faces of the crew. None fit Hart’s description. Officers McNeill and Springate return from the second floor after finding nothing. They ask about the basement and Joe points to the wood sheets covering the entrance. McNeill and Springate immediately pull those up. Eddie Kavanagh brings them a ladder and they climb down. There is nothing there, but some old wood and some tools. Officer Dawson tells Joe and all the workers that if they see or hear from Jack Hart they are legally obligated to turn him in. Joe assures them they will. They want no parts of Jack Hart. Officer Mayo uses the Shop’s phone to call their superiors. When Mayo returns, he informs Joe that they are staying. They believe Jack may show up here looking for help. Joe bites his tongue and says this is fine, but he’s sure Jack will not come here. The officers stand out front of the Shop’s doors smoking while Joe gets his crew back to work. He returns to his office. He would like to call Kitty, but does not. Probably not a good idea with the police right outside the door. The Kavanaghs and crew get very little done the rest of the afternoon. At 4:30 p.m. when the Shop’s doors are locked up, the Kavanaghs and crew head home.

Central Avenue side of the old Shop. Picture taken September 8, 2018.

May 11

The Shop spends Friday abuzz with the talk of Jack’s attempted escape. The crew chat about it and the Kavanaghs do to, but choose their words carefully. When the day ends and the workers leave, Joe calls a meeting to discuss Jack and Kitty. She has called Joe and told him that Jack will not stop until he is out. He is coming for her. Joe tried to changer her mind, but without success. He asks her if she knew about this attempted escape. She vehemently denies knowing anything about it. She was simply there for a regular visit. She knows that Jack misses her and wants to be with her. The Kavanaghs are worried she will bring more publicity to the situation. Last year she was interviewed and pictured throughout the manhunt. James tells Joe he has to handle Kitty. She’s a loose cannon, but she will listen to her Uncle Joe. Both Leo and Eddie agree with their Uncle James. Joe is the only one that Kitty every listens to. Joe shakes his head and tells them this is no longer the case. Kitty seems so devoted to Jack now almost to the point of disregarding anyone else even herself. Joe will try to convince Kitty to tell her husband to stay where he is. He doesn’t expect her to take his advice, but he will try. Another issue they discuss is what to do if Jack does show up at the Shop. It does seems as if Jack will try to escape again according to Kitty. They need a plan for this possibility. They discuss their options. They would consider turning him in, but that would certainly give Jack every reason to rat them out. To tell the police everything about the bootlegging they did at the Shop. Even if they are not prosecuted, this would damage their reputation. It could hurt the company. They come to the conclusion that if Jack Hart shows up, they will help him. They will do what they can and get him out of the building as fast as possible. They have to be generous and supportive to him if he does make an appearance. Then, they have to get him to leave as fast as possible. They all hope this never happens. Being ready is a good idea though. The Kavanaghs disperse and head home. After dinner, Joe calls Kitty. He tries to persuade her to tell Jack to just serve his time and not cause trouble. To wait and see if he makes parole some day. Kitty listens but his ideas fall on deaf ears. She tells Joe that she doesn’t want trouble for Jack, but he will do what he wants. That’s how it is and they both want to be together.

June 16

Katherine Lubre Kavanagh dies in Philadelphia on this Saturday. Joe and James were planning a trip to see their mother next month. Instead, they take a train the next day to bring her body back to Baltimore. The family grieves, but knows that Katherine lived a long full life.

June 20

Katherine Lubre Kavanagh is laid to rest at New Cathedral Cemetery with so many other Kavanaghs. The funeral service is held at St. Elizabeth’s of Hungary Church on the corner of Lakewood Avenue and Baltimore Street. She was of French-Swiss and Irish decent. She was the matriarch of the Kavanaghs despite moving to Philadelphia for those last few years. She lived 20 years longer than her husband, Patrick. She outlived five of her nine children. When she passed, she had nearly twenty grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. She was the last of her generation. The original Joe Kavanaghs’s generation. She was 77 years old.

Katherine Lubre Kavanagh. (1845-1923)

August 2

President Warren G. Harding suffers a heart attack and dies while on a speaking tour in San Francisco.

Vice- President Calvin Coolidge becomes the 30th president. Joe reads the story in the newspaper the next morning. The Kavanaghs and the country mourn. History doesn’t treat the Harding presidency well, but his death was very sudden and a shock to the nation. Harding is the sixth U. S. President to die in office.

August 18

On the one year anniversary of the Norris murder, Leo’s wife, Maymie gives birth to their second child, Mary. The new baby girl and mother are doing well. The family is happy for another member of the next generation. Joe and Johanna are grandparents again.

September 15

Eddie attends a Saturday evening Coppersmiths union meeting of Local #80. There is the usual discussion of wages and work conditions. He handles several correspondences from Locals around the country. Eddie is happy to take care of these things. It’s part of the General Secretary’s job. Afterward, he returns home for a quiet night with his wife and son.

October 15

The Yankees beat the Giants in the World Series. 4 games to 2. Babe Ruth hits 3 home runs while a young Casey Stengel hits two in a losing cause. The ever present debate between Joe and Eddie over Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb goes Ruth’s way this year. “The Babe” has a huge year. Hitting .393 with 41 homers and an incredible 170 walks. Henry Heilmann wins the batting title with an average of .403. Cobb has a disappointing year hitting a meager .340. Even Joe has to admit, Cobb’s better days may be behind him.

November 26

Today another chilly winter week begins as the crew starts fabricating another large fountain while several workers, led by Eddie, attend to another repair at National Brewery. This one is unrelated to the vats they replaced. It is just some seams to solder and fittings to replace. Several days worth of work in this one. The rest of the crew finish some small brass parts for a boiler.

December 24

The Shop’s Christmas Eve Party is held. Aunt Sally, Kitty, Mary, Regina are all there. The Kavanaghs and customers mingle with employees. Kitty has a long chat with her Uncle Joe and Uncle James about James Connelly/ Jack Hart. She has continued visiting him twice a month in prison. She still seems to think that he will find a way to get out. Joe does his best to discourage her from talking about this. Her Uncle James wanders away and leaves her with Joe who continues to encourage her to tell her husband to stay put. To serve his time and hope to make parole. Kitty is unmoved and remains convinced that Jack Hart will come for her. Her Uncle Joe lets her ramble on about it. She also mentions that she will be spending some time in New York in the new year. Visiting the Connellys, her husband’s family. Joe likes this idea. It will get her out of Baltimore and away from the penitentiary. That has to be a good thing. The party carries on around them. There is music and good cheer for the holiday overall. They have managed to get through another year and have a little work for the start of the next. They are not making the money they were when they were in the rye business, but they aren’t breaking any laws either. They celebrate another year of the Shop as a family. As the party winds down, Eddie and Anna make an announcement that is welcomed with great joy and excitement. They are expecting another baby in the new year.



Warren G. Harding dies in office and Calvin Coolidge becomes the president. The first issue of Time Magazine is published. Yankee Stadium opens. The Hollywood sign is inaugurated. Originally, it was Hollywood Land. The Walt Disney Company is founded. The Equal Rights Amendment was submitted to Congress for the first time. Suffragist Alice Paul who was instrumental in the passing of the 19th Amendment is at the forefront of it coming before Congress. It does not pass. Rocky Marciano, Hank Williams, Charlton Heston, Bob Barker and Jean Stapleton are born.

There remain 48 states in the Union.

Letter from Katherine Lubre Kavanagh to her grandson Eddie and his wife Anna. January 19, 1919.


4 thoughts on “1923 The Aftermath

  1. Joe Kavanagh continues to bring a local successful story to light with every new year he adds. Been waiting what seemed like a yr ( maybe a week😉 ) and was not disappointed upon getting a chance to read……. ❤️ ‘ d it and now looking forward to 24 .
    PS- As always, ❤️ The Baseball History Kavanagh Story delivers..
    Thank You Joe ,


  2. I love how this is written the impersonal journal entries tells you everything important that happened in this family. The ups, downs, bad, and good.
    Curious to see if Kitty gets her wish.


  3. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the history of your family. I’m originally from Canton/Highlandtown and proud of it. At 13 I had 5 paper routes for the Sun which my great uncle was an Editor.


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