Spreading the word about Cornwall: Student to visit

CALUMET – One of the many ethnicities to come to the Calumet area to work in the copper mines of the 19th century were the Cornish. The people from Cornwall, England, and their migration is the subject of research being conducted by a Cornish university student who will visit Calumet.

Jean Ellis, vice president of the Calumet-based Keweenaw Kernewek (Cornish-language word for Cornish), said student Robert Herron will be at the Keweenaw Heritage Center on the corner of Fifth and Scott Streets at 6 p.m. March 6.

In a letter to club members, Herron stated he’s studying press and editorial photography at Falmouth University in England. His research is for a photographic study of Cornish Americans and the migration of Cornish people to various communities, including the Calumet area, during the 19th century.

Ellis said there was significant migration from Cornwall to the Calumet area.

“So many people from Cornwall, during difficult economic times, emigrated to various places,” she said.

The reasons for the emigration from Cornwall were due to closing of many of the tin and copper mines in the area and the same potato blight which affected Ireland.

Ellis said it was mostly men who came to Calumet first, and after getting settled, they sent for their families.

The Cornish people who came to Calumet liked to do things for themselves, Ellis said.

“They were extremely independent,” she said.

Ellis said Kernewek members are looking forward to Herron’s visit because they would like to be better informed about the migration from Cornwall to Calumet.

“There isn’t a lot of formal information about Cornish migration here,” she said. “This is an area that affected a lot of Cornish people.”

In order to talk with Herron, Ellis said people need to call Kernewek member Carol Treganowan at 337-1392 to reserve a spot.

The cost is $10 and that includes a meal.