Jeremiah Donovan

Jeremiah Donovan (1861-Aft 1923)

(1888-1892): Saloon at the NW corner of Folsom and Steuart
(1893-1918): 2745 Laguna St, aka 2711 1/2 and 2721 Laguna St
(1919-1920): 1888 Green St
(1922-1923): 1340 Vallejo St

Jeremiah Donovan was born in Massachusetts in September 1861 to Irish immigrant parents. He first shows up conclusively in City Directories in 1889 as the proprietor of the Chicago Saloon on the NW corner of Folsom and Steuart on the Embarcadero. Today the location is the corporate headquarter of GAP Inc. It was also that year that he married his wife Magdalena, "Lena" for short. He and Lena most likely lived in upper rooms at the saloon (no other residence is listed for them) until they buy their first home at 2713 Laguna in Pacific Heights.

He continued to run the saloon until late 1894 when the begins working as a policeman for the city. Also at this time he decides to rent out the majority of his house to the Springer family. The address for the main house was changed to 2711 Laguna while Jeremiah and Lena gave themselves the number 2711 1/2. The numbers changed again in about 1903 to 2719 for the Springers and 2721 for the Donovan's.

As an officer his name was printed in San Francisco Call several times. Most of the arrests took place around Folsom and 8th Street, where his beat was. Here are a list of cases he was reported to take part in:

1895, Jan 1: Arrested August Mathews for petty larceny.
1895, May 20: Witnessed accidental shooting of Officer Reynolds.
1897, Aug 9: Arrested Michael O'Brien for theft.
1898, Feb 26: Arrested Mrs. Marry Cotter for killing her husband.
1899, Jan 8: At the scene of the suicide of Lewis N. Peart.
1903, Sep 28: Called to the suicide of Matthew Gerke at Lands End.

In January 1903 Jeremiah and Lena purchased some property around the corner on the north side of Green Street, east of Laguna, and they hired an architect to build a three story frame house that August - but they never moved in. In December things turned bad when Jeremiah was accused of an unnamed crime but was given the option of resigning instead of being charged, but news of the accusation was still published in the paper. He was out of work the following year and in 1905 he was absent from the city directory all together.

In April 1906 the city was hit with a massive earthquake and half the city was destroyed by fire. Luckily, both of their homes were spared by the fire but they did lose their tenants - the Springers. Jeremiah and Lena took over the rest of the house and the house changed to its final number of 2745 Laguna. In 1907 Jeremiah got work as a watchman and gatekeeper for the American-Hawaiian Stemaship Company, a position he held until at least 1908 and possibly until 1911. He didn't list an occupation in 1912 or 1913, from 1914 to 1916 he was listed as a blacksmith and in 1917 as a general laborer. In 1918 he became a watchman again.

In 1919 Jeremiah and Lena moved to their other home at 1888 Green Street and, again, Jeremiah didn't list an occupation for himself. In 1920 he began working as a janitor. They aren't listed in the city directory for 1921 but they return in 1922 and 1923, this time living several blocks away at 1340 Vallejo. Again, he was working as a janitor for those years. There does not seem to be any conclusive record for him in the city after that time.

In San Francisco he was a police officer. He resigned from the police force in 1903 in order to escape the charge of an unknown accusation. In 1900 he lived at 2745 Laguna St and still showed as the owner of the property in the 1906 San Francisco Block Book.

He should not be confused with several other men by the name of Jeremiah Donovan. There nine such men listed in the 1900 City Directory. They were 1. a carpenter at 426C Clementina; 2. a clerk for Newbauer Bros at 24 Natoma; 3. a laborer at 285 Natoma; 4. laborer at 2813 23rd; 5. a ship calker at 220 Noe; 6. a stevedore for P M SS Co; 7. a tanner at 1524 Bryant; 8 a man named Jeremiah J. at 30 Elliot Park and 9. a man named Jeremiah J., a bricklayer, at 4079 23rd.


City Directories

1888 - (not listed)
1889 - Donovan, Jeremiah, proprietor Chicago Saloon, NW cor Folsom and Steuart
1890 - Donovan, Jeremiah, liquor saloon, NW cor Folsom & Steuart
1891 - Donovan, Jeremiah, liquors, NW cor, NW cor Folsom & Steuart
1892 - Donovan, Jeremiah, liquors, NW cor Steuart & Folsom
1893 - Donovan, Jeremiah, liquors, NW cor Folsom & Steuart, r2713 Laguna
1894 - Donovan, Jeremiah, liquors, 258 Steuart, r2713 Laguna
1895 - Donovan, Jeremiah, r2711 1/2 Laguna
1896 - Donovan, Jeremiah, policeman, r2711 1/2 Laguna
1897 - Donovan, Jeremiah, policeman, r2711 1/2 Laguna
1898 - Donovan, Jeremiah, policeman, r2711 1/2 Laguna
1899 - Donovan, Jeremiah, policeman, r2711 1/2 Laguna
1900 - Donovan, Jeremiah, policeman, r2711 1/2 Laguna
1901 - Donovan, Jeremiah, policeman, r2711 1/2 Laguna
1902 - Donovan, Jeremiah, policeman, r2711 1/2 Laguna
1903 - Donovan, Jeremiah, policeman, r2721 Laguna
1904 - Donovan, Jeremiah, r2721 Laguna
1905 - (not listed)
1907 - Donovan, Jeremiah, watchman Am-Haw SS Co r2721 Laguna
1908 - Donovan, Jeremiah, gatekpr Am Haw SS Co r2745 Laguna
1909 - Donovan, Jeremiah, gatekeeper r2745 Laguna
1910 - Donovan, Jeremiah, watchman r2745 Laguna
1911 - Donovan, Jeremiah, watchman r2745 Laguna
1912 - Donovan, Jeremiah, r2745 Laguna
1913 - Donovan, Jeremiah, r2745 Laguna
1914 - Donovan, Jeremiah (Magdalene) blksmith, h2745 Laguna
1915 - Donovan, Jeremiah (Magdalene) blksmith, h2745 Laguna
1916 - Donovan, Jeremiah (Magdalene) blksmith, h2745 Laguna
1917 - Donovan, Jeremiah (Lena) lab h. 2745 Laguna
1918 - Donovan, Jeremiah (Lena) watchmn r2745 Laguna
1919 - Donovan, Jeremiah (Lena) r1888 Green
1920 - Donovan, Jeremiah (Magdalena) janitor, r1888 Green
1921 - (not listed)
1922 - Donovan, Jeremiah (Lena) janitor, r1340 Vallejo
1923 - Donovan, Jeremiah (Lena) janitor, r1340 Vallejo
1924 - (not listed)

Newspaper Articles

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, California) - Jan 1, 1895

An Overcoat Stolen Before an Officer With Open Eyes.

August Mathews, a reckless looking individual from the Antipodes, but more recently from Los Angeles, stole an overcoat from O'Hanlon's store, 2 Montgomery avenues, yesterday, but failed to get away with it. He was out of luck and he is now in jail.

While Officer Donovan was sitting on the other side of the street getting his shoes shined he noticed Mathews and two other unknowns lingering around in front of O'Hanlon's places of business. Suddenly one of the trio grabbed an overcoat from a show-rack and started to leave the neighborhood. The officer was dressed in citizens clothes, and therefore did not appear dangerous to the thief. The latter was soon in the arms of the law, and few minutes later was booked at the Old City Prison for petty larceny.

The Record-Union (Sacramento, California) - May 20, 1895

A Policeman Injured by the Explosion of a Cartridge on a Car Truck.

SAN FRANCISCO, May 19 - Policeman Harry Reynolds was shot in a peculiar manner to-day. He was standing on Larkin street, in front of the new City Hall, talking with Officer Donovan, when a cable car passed and took a shot at him. Some boys had placed a 38-caliber cartridge on the track, and the wheels of the car caused the shell to explode. The bullet struck Reynolds on the calf of the leg, inflicting a painful bruise. At the sound of the shot a squad of police dashed out of the station, thinking that a murder had been committed. Reynolds had his wound examined at the Receiving Hospital. The skin was not broken, and a little arnica will repair the injury.

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, California) - August 9, 1897

Barry Burke and Michael O'Brien Found in Con Harrigan's Store

Officers G. W. Meyers and Jerry Donovan, while patroling their beats at Eighth and Folsom streets last night about 9:30, observed something unusual in the store of Cornelius J. Harrigan at the southeast corner of Folsom and Eighth streets. An examination of the door leading into the store convinced the officers that force had been used to pry the door open.

The entered the premises and behind the counter they found Michael O'Brien crouched with the money till between his legs, which he had pried from the drawer in the counter. Officer Donovan took charge of him, while Officer Meyers' search was rewarded by finding Burke hid behind a barrel in the cellar. The thieves were taken to the Central Station, and on being searched $5 in small silver coin was found on O'Brien and 100 cigars on Burke.

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, California) - February 26, 1898

Mrs. Cotter, Murderer of Her Husband, Goes Insane
While Brooking Over Her Awful Crime She Loses Her Reason
She Imagines That Her Enemies Are Determined to Punish Her

Mary Cotter, who shot and killed her husband several years ago, is a raving maniac. Last night she was arrested by Police Officer Donovan and locked up in a padded cell in the Receiving Hospital.

Cotter was a policeman. In a fit of jealous rage his wife shot him in the back, inflicting a wound from which he died a short time afterward. She was tried for murder, but was acquitted by a jury in the Superior Court. She claimed at the trial that he first shot at her, and to protect her life she killed him.

Since then the woman has been living at 108 Ninth street. Last evening she became violently insane, and one of the lodgers, fearing she would injure herself, summoned Officer Donovan. The latter on entering her room found the unfortunate woman in a kneeling posture on the floor, her hands clasped in prayer. She was beseeching the Almighty to forgive her for the killing of her husband.

"I murdered him, I know" she pitifully exclaimed, "but, Lord, do not condemn me. Open the pearly gates and allow me to enter. I have sinned, thou Heavenly Father, but be merciful."

Mrs. Cotter was only half-clad, and, as she remained kneeling, her long, dark hair hanging down her back, she presented a striking picture. After considerable trouble she was persuaded to dress herself. She was then taken to the Receiving Hospital in the patrol-wagon and placed in a padded cell.

The surgeons at the hospital, after a cursory examination, pronounced her hopelessly insane. To-day she will be taken before the Commissioners of Lunacy to be examined.

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, California) - January 7, 1903


William H. and Lydia J. Wharff to Jeremiah and Lena Donovan, lot on N. line of Green street, 25 E of Laguna, E 25 by N 100; $10

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, California) - February 20, 1903

Builder's Contracts

Jeremiah and Lena Donovan (owners) with W. E. Grant (contractor), architect - All work except plumbing, gas and water fitting, sewering and street service, also all tiling for 3-story and basement frame building; $6880.

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, California) - December 16, 1903


Board of Police Commissioners Holds a Busy Session at the Hall of Justice

At a meeting of the Board of Police Commissioners held last evening Patrolman Joseph E. Feld, who shot and killed his father-in-law, Fritz Dirking, on November 2, was dismissed from the department. There were but two witnesses examined and the manslayer offered no defense. The case of Patrolmen Bennett, who is charged with being implicated with Sergeant Wolf in extorting money from a Mission-street saloon-keeper, went over until Friday afternoon for decision, the Commissioners being unable to agree upon a penalty. Patrolman Patrick J. Parrell was fined $25 for permitting a prisoner to escape, and the case of Policeman Fogarty, charged with having made an unlawful arrest, went over until Friday.

Charges brought against Patrolman Charles B. Wedekind by Max Foehr were dismissed, it being proven that the officer, acted wholly within his duty.

Philip Brady was appointed a patrolman in the place of Jeremiah Donovan, who resigned rather than face charges preferred against him.

Census Records

1900 Census - 2711 Laguna Street, San Francisco, California

Springer, Abraham - born Dec 1857 in Indiana, parents born in Germany, married 5 years, a bookkeeper
Springer, Irene?, wife - born Oct 1869 in California, parents born in Germany, married 5 years, no children
Salera, Carrie, servant - born June 1880 in New York, parents born in Italy, single, a servant
Sair, Lenhart, roomer - born Nov 1827 in Germany, parents born in Germany, widow, retired

1900 Census - 2711 1/2 Laguna Street, San Francisco, California

Donovan, Jerry - born Sept 1861 in Massachusetts, parents born in Ireland, married 11 years, police officer
Donovan, Lena, wife - born Dec 1859 in Germany, parents born in Germany, 1 child-still living