Captain John Kavanah
HEADLONG TO DEATH
Kavanah Meets with a
Was a Life of Dash and Danger,
Ended in Falling Fifty Feet
the Smoke-stack of the
Power House at
Captain John Kavanah, of No. 917 Sharp street, after serving a gun on the
Merrimac in her great contest in Hampton Roads without injury, met his death
yesterday, while painting the smoke stack of the Electric Power house at
Brooklyn, Anne Arundel county.
The height of the chimney is about seventy-five feet.
Captain Kavanah, or as he was better known, Captain Jack Kavanah, had
reached a point within twenty feet of the top. A ladder was erected, and he
ascended it, and spliced another ladder to it. He then descended to get his
rope, block and girtling band. A
fellow workman, J.H. Heaney, accompanied him to his ascent when he went to
attach an iron hook to a rod connected with the band surrounding the chimney.
Upon descending, Captain Kavanah arranged the girtling, and told Heaney
to pull ahead. Heaney said, "I
won't do it, because if you try to get up, it is death."
nothing daunted, he pulled himself up, and had reached within a few feet of the
desired point, when the hook slipped, and headlong he fell.
Heany, who was below, at once took in the slack of the rope and tied it,
which saved Kavanah from being crushed to pieces, for as he fell, he struck the
comb of the roof, and sliding down, was kept from falling to the ground by
Heany's foresight. There he was held on the side of the roof until assistance
was obtained, and he was carried down and placed in the buggy of Officer Acton,
who brought him to his residence, 917 Sharp street, where he died in a short
while. He fell on his right side,
and broke some ribs, which lacerated his liver, causing his death.
Coroner Geer held an inquest last night, and the jury gave, as their
verdict, that his death was an accidental.
Captain Kavanah was born in London in 1830, and came to Norfolk, Va., in
1858, and worked as a rigger in the navy yard.
At the outbreak of the war he joined the Confederate service, and was
detailed to the Merrimac, with which vessel he served until she was destroyed.
From that time on he continued to serve in the navy, and at the close of
the war was on the Tallahassee.
Since the war he has been a rigger, and has done some marvelous work.
Among his achievements may be mentioned the placing of a marble piece and
the rods on the Washington Monument, the lightning rod on the Mount Calvary
Church, the placing of three telegraph poles on the City Hall.
He met with many falls, but had never been seriously injured until
yesterday. Captain Kavanah leaves a
widow and five grown children.
NEARLY FIFTY FEET
Cavanagh Escaped the Terrors of Was to Meet a Violent Death
John Cavanagh, the well-known rigger was killed yesterday afternoon at
Brooklyn, Anne Arundel county, while at work on the smoke-stack of the
power-house of the Curtis Bay electric road.
Cavanagh had fastened a rope to a band far up on the smoke-stack and had
prepared his rigging-seat, with its block and tackle arrangement, all ready to
be hauled to the point where he wished to work, when two of his fellow workmen
tried to persuade him to forego the attempt to climb to the dangerous position.
He assured them that the risk, and asked one of them to pull him up.
The man refused, and Cavanagh proceeded to pull himself by hand over
Just as he was within reaching distance of the band that encircled the
smoke-stack and was trying to make his fastenings more secure the hook at the
end of the rope gave away. Cavanagh
dropped the roof of the power-house, nearly 40 feet below.
He struck the comb of the roof and slid halfway down to the eaves, when
his progress was arrested by the tightening of the rope tied to his body.
The workmen, who had hold of the rope, when he saw Cavanagh disappear on
the other side of the roof, ran quickly backward, coiling the rope as he ran.
By so doing, he saved the rigger an additional fall of 25 feet from the
power-house to the ground.
Several men mounted the to roof and carefully lowered Cavanagh to the
ground, after which he was driven to his home, 917 Sharp street, by Policeman
Acton, who happened to be passing in his buggy at the time of this accident.
He died soon after arriving home. A
coroner's jury assembled late in the afternoon and decided that the death was
Cavanagh was born is England 62 years ago and came to this country in
1858, his first home being Norfolk, Va., where he was employed in the navy yard.
At the time when the Merrimac was creating such havoc among the Federal
vessels in Hampton Roads he was one of the crew which manned the forward gun of
the Monitor's antagonist. He was in
the thick of the fight between the Merrimac and Monitor and afterward served
throughout the war in Commodore Pickney's fleet and on the Tallahassee. He was in the James River on one of the ships of the Naval
Brigade at the time of its dispersion by the Federal forces.
After the close of the war Cavanagh came to Baltimore and engaged in the
rigging business. He placed the marble slab on the top of the Washington
Monument and put the lightning rod that surmounts Washington's statue in place.
He also placed the lightning rod on Mount Calvary Church and has done
work at different times on the City Hall dome.
Last Update Friday, 22-Jan-2016 14:04:54 EST