As WPA laborers worked to finish the restored Fort D in July 1937, a mystery presented itself: Who was the Civil War veteran who quietly visited the fortification, walked its ramparts, inspected the new stone building there, and just as quietly left without telling anyone his name?
A story about the mysterious vet was printed on the front page of The Southeast Missourian July 10, 1937:
It would take almost three weeks before the old warrior's identity was learned:
Members of the Louis K. Juden Post of the American Legion planned to dedicate Fort D on Oct. 17, 1937, but for some reason that didn't happen. A later Missourian story indicated the dedication was to take place during the city's 1938 Memorial Day program. The article also reviewed the work that had been done at Fort D through the efforts of the American Legion and the WPA:
Davis apparently didn't attend that "Decoration Day" ceremony. An article about the event noted the "only remaining Civil War veteran in Cape Girardeau known to the Sons of Veterans ... was present. He is Peter Niswonger, who served in Fort A..." The story doesn't mention Davis.
Fred Davis died June 5, 1939, almost two years after his visit to Fort D: