After being discharged from the . Army at nearby Fort Snelling, he arrived in the St. Paul area, which had only recently been opened for settlement. That meant he had first dibs on land that few had even seen yet. However, Phelan’s empty pocketbook meant he had to join forces with a sergeant, John Hays, to buy up the land he wanted—a prime slice of real estate in what is now downtown St. Paul. Phelan, who was known for his temper, started farming with Hays. But then Hays disappeared—and when his mutilated body was found near a local cave, Phelan was the prime suspect [ PDF ]. Neighbors all contradicted Phelan’s version of the story, which was that Native Americans had attacked his former business partner. Phalen was found not guilty, but in the time the trial took Hay’s claim had been jumped, and since all of his neighbors felt he was guilty, Phalen moved away. Eventually he himself would be murdered on his way to finding fortune in California. Despite the distasteful associations, his name ended up on several St. Paul landmarks, including Lake Phalen, after which the neighborhood is named. As for Hays, his name has faded from memory—and as MPR News’ Tracy Mumford notes , it’s not even certain where his bones were buried.
The unanswered question from the CDC/FDA survey is whether reduced youth smoking will result in reduced young-adult smoking, even when the current generation of kids reach legal smoking age. If so, then the latest numbers could indicate an ongoing adverse trend for cigarette volume going forward. And perhaps more importantly, falling interest in electronic cigarettes could mean the massive investments that Altria and Reynolds American have made in e-cigarettes and other reduced-risk products might not provide the long-term growth potential investors have hoped to see.