The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Tribune (Detroit, MI), Aug. 17, 1886

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Mike Donovan Goes for Iron and Gets Thirty Days

Some time ago Mike Donovan was arrested at the instance[sic] of the Michigan Central railroad company for carrying off a ton or more of pig iron which had fallen into the river near the company's dock while a vessel was being unloaded, and which Donovan had recovered by diving for it. Yesterday his case came on for trial before Police Justice Haug, and Donovan set up the defense that he thought he had the right to the iron. He said he had dove and recovered iron in times past and sold it, and supposed it was all right.

"Then you think anything you find in the bottom of the river is yours, do you?" asked the complainant's lawyer.

"Yes," said Donovan.

"Suppose you were to find a silver brick?"

"A silver brick?" and Donovan's eyes sparkled.


"Why, I'd raise it!"

"How deep can you dive?" asked Justice Haug, "and how long can you remain under water?"

"I can dive thirty or forty feet and remain under three minutes and over."

"Without any diving apparatus?"

"I put cotton in my ears, that's all."

The justice held that while Donovan was doubtless ignorant of the law and might have had no intention of stealing, he was nevertheless guilty and assessed a fine of $20 or thirty days in the house of correction.

As Donovan was leaving the court room he turned to George Tuite, who was the principal witness against him, and said;

"I'll pay a fine for you, my young fellow, when I get out."

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Aug. 17, 1886
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Dave Swayze
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Detroit Tribune (Detroit, MI), Aug. 17, 1886