“Monday was observed by the Irish with the usual ceremonies of St. Patrick’s day. Ann was through with washing about eleven in the morning – and all the servants went down to look at the Procession and Ann and Willie went to the Ball in the evening –“
So wrote Sarah Davis to her husband, Judge David Davis, on March 20, 1872.
Since the 17th of March fell on Sunday that year, the celebrations were on Monday, the 18th. According to the Pantagraph, the procession was to step off at “2 ½ o’clock precisely” at the Hibernian Benevolent Society hall on South Main St.
Participants in the 1872 procession included both the Bloomington & Wapella Hibernian Benevolent Societies, the St. Joseph Society, Father Mathew’s Total Abstinence and Benevolent Society, and Kadel’s Band.
The Hibernian Societies promoted and supported Irish culture. Father Mathew’s organization was a chapter of an organization founded in 1838, in Ireland, by Father Theobald Mathew, which promoted total abstinence from alcohol. Its mission was to eliminate intemperance in poor communities, thereby improving the spiritual, mental, and physical health of the poor. The St. Joseph Society was also founded to help the poor.
But what about Kadel’s Band? Kadel doesn’t sound particularly Irish, nor does it sound benevolent in any way. A little research turned up some interesting information. It seems that Kadel’s Band was the go-to group in the early 1870s for all things musical. A quick search of the 1872 Pantagraph finds that Kadel’s Band played at a sociable given by the Father Mathew Temperance Society (February 8th), at a private party at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Lawrence Weldon on Grove St. (July 1st) , at a Quadrille at the Opera House, “rain or shine” (July 4th), at a political mass meeting, in “Mercury 100 Degrees in the Shade” (July 15th ), and at the Grand Ball of the Bloomington National Guard at Phoenix Hall (October 14th). They had also played at the May 1872 convention of the Liberal Republican Party in Cincinnati OH. It was there that Judge David Davis, among others, was promoted as a possible candidate for president of the United States!
And it turns out, the Kadels weren’t Irish, they were German, from Bavaria. Four Kadel brothers, William, Philip, Charles and Daniel, had emigrated from Bavaria and settled in Bloomington. According to the Bloomington City Directory for 1872, Charles and Daniel, were barbers, but William’s occupation was listed as “saloon and restaurant”. Philip’s occupation was listed as “leader Kadel’s Band”.
In the February 27, 1926 Pantagraph, there was a reminiscence about Charles Kadel. In that article, it states that the band was organized by Charles, Philip and Daniel Kadel in 1859, and that Charles was the “first white man to open [a] barber shop in Bloomington”. In February, 1875, money was being raised “for the purpose of uniforming” Kadel’s Military Band. Many of the movers & shakers of the town donated anywhere from $1 to $10 to the cause, however, toward the end of the list, Judge David Davis is listed as giving $25, the largest donation of the 236 people listed.
Sadly, it seems that by 1877, Kadel’s Military Band was suffering from internal strife. In an article in the July 6, 1877 Pantagraph, it states that Philip Kadel, “the old-time leader not only took charge of the musical notes” but “also took possession of the $80.10 paid the band….by the German Catholics.” The members “bounced” Kadel the next day and reorganized with a new leader.
With Kadel’s Military Band a thing of the past, it seems that the Hibernian Society Procession may have gone the way of all things as well. While the March 19, 1877, Pantagraph has an article titled “Wearing of the Green” which lists the usual participants taking part in the usual afternoon procession, the March 19, 1878 Pantagraph has only an article about “the tenth annual ball of the Hibernian Benevolent Society”. There is no mention of a procession having taken place prior to the ball but the article did, however, mention that, “The music was furnished by Hohmann & Hastings’ string band.”
The photograph at the beginning of the article is of Kate Foley (left), an 1870s era Irish servant at the David Davis mansion, and possibly her sister (right).