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History Revealed: The Case of Ed Phelan

January 10 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Ramsey County Historical Society Presents

History Revealed: A Toast to History at Waldmann Series
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Gary Bruggeman, Minnesota’s Oldest Murder Mystery, the Case of Ed Phelan
Waldmann Brewery & Wurstery

Free and open to all.

Join RCHS for History Revealed, our program series featuring presentations and tours from the best of local historians, authors and archaeologists, with a wide range of topics drawn from the heritage and traditions of Ramsey County.

On September 27, 1839, the battered body of a middle-aged Irishman was found by some Dakota boys washed up along the Mississippi River shore. It was the body of Sgt. John Hays, a popular former soldier, who, prior to his disappearance twenty-one days earlier, had been sharing a log shanty a few miles upriver from the cave with his friend and business partner, Edward Phelan (or Phalen). Before the year was over, Phelan was arrested and charged with the murder of his friend.

This is the first book to focus on this historic murder and the first thorough biography of Phelan, a notorious pioneer intimately involved in the making of St. Paul and founding of Minnesota. Was he guilty? All reports and records of Phelan’s trial were mysteriously lost and no newspapers covered the story. However, in 1994, St. Paul historian Gary Brueggemann made an amazing discovery in the Minnesota Historical Society archives – hidden in the papers of Joseph R. Brown was his handwritten transcription of the Hays’ murder hearing.

Using this record, other primary sources, and drawing from decades of studying Minnesota and St. Paul history, Gary Bruggeman will present the case of Ed Phelan and his trial for the murder of John Hays.

Registration is needed to attend presentations. Space is limited, first-come, first served.

The presentation is currently FULL.
To be added to the waiting list, please call 651-222-0701 or email membership@rchs.com.

It’s RCHS Day at Waldmann Brewery & Wurstery!

On the second Thursday of each month, 10% of all sales to RCHS members and their guests will be donated to the Ramsey County Historical Society!

RCHS members and supporters are encouraged to come and enjoy a lunch/dinner/drink at Waldmann throughout the day, or time your dinner so that you can stay for the presentation immediately after. So come on in and raise a toast to history and support RCHS!

Mention that you are a member, supporter or friend of RCHS to your server, and they will make sure that your tab is counted toward Waldmann’s support.

History Revealed: A Toast to History at Waldmann Series
Waldmann Brewery & Wurstery

2018 History Revealed Programs

See the History Revealed information 2019 page for updates and programs for 2019.
Or check our Calendar for these and other programs at the Gibbs Farm, and more!


January 10
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
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Waldmann Brewery & Wurstery
445 Smith Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55102 United States
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