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Devil Dan: The Admiral’s rescue kitten that guarded the U.S. Treasury

While browsing through the Courier-Journal’s archives, I’ve learned that the best stuff is deep in the inside pages.

For example, this story from Oct. 3, 1899:

That’s a vicious kitten!

This is a depiction of Admiral Dewey aboard the U.S.S. Olympia in the Spanish-American War. Dewey would have been about 61 at the time, though none of the fellas in this painting appears to be that old. This painting is hanging in the Vermont State House.

A calendar cover featuring the old softie.


Apparently, the kitten was sad and sickly, hanging outside the Treasury Department in Washington, D.C., when Admiral George Dewey. Dewey had recently led the navy in the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898 in the Spanish-American War.

He returned to the U.S. in 1899 to a two-day parade in Boston and had just been promoted to rear admiral in 1899 and full admiral the following year.

So, the reporting on the kitten incident would have been about a month after he returned home. Makes sense, considering it happened a while before, then suddenly he was in the news being heralded as a hero. And everyone loves to read about a big, bad hero having a tender side toward kitties.

Turns out, the kitty took some of its benefactor’s traits and became a vicious killer and hero to its neighbors.

I guess Devil Dan, the cat, was defending the Treasury against all invaders, be they human, feline or rodent.


Godspeed, Devil Dan. (Not the actual cat. I picture him with a tiny admiral’s hat, but my Photoshop skills aren’t that good.)

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  2017  /  Fun newspaper posts, Louisville history, Uncategorized  /  Last Updated July 7, 2017 by  / 
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