Both marches highlight heritage and history. Cornwall commemeorates an uprising 500 years ago to protest taxes levied by Henry VII for a war against Scotland. The Cornish, struggling to survive individually and as a people, losing the battle to speak their own language, gathered support as they walked up the peninsula crossing the Tamar River and into England. Evidence suggests that English people joined the protest and that numbers grew as the march to London continued.
Henry's army made short work of the rebels and their leaders were executed. But the march and the events showed that Cornish people still had a sense of identity and unity. Cornwall's motto-ONEN HAG OLL (One and All)-expresses that well. 500 years later, Cornwall struggles to maintain its identity supporting efforts to revive Cornish as a spoken language, continue ancient customs, and maintain an economic base for its people on this beautiful peninsula of Britain.
The 1800's marked another assault on the Cornish, this time because ores which had been a resource were running out. The exodus to North America, South Africa, and Australia reached proportions which led to it being called the Cornish Diaspora. One report was that every time a new mine opened on the Keweenaw, another village in Cornwall emptied out. As mines closed, Cornwall was being drained of her people.
Many of those people settled at Clifton, working the Cliff Mine. Others went to Central, bring Keweenaw copper to daylight. Building on their knowledge of mining techniques, the Cornish were reputed to be among the best in their ability to sink shafts and "bring ore to grass". From the mid to late 1800's, Cornish men and women made up a large part of the population of the Copper Country. Their descendants treasure memories of the dialect they spoke and savor recipes for pasties, sticky buns, saffron cake, and scalded cream, adding a Cornish flavor to the many ethnic identities in the Copper Country.
Clifton is gone now. Graves in two cemeteries commemorate people. Poor rock piles recall mining operations. Farther north, there is more evidence of early settlers at Central. A few houses and a small chapel recall the day to day lives in this community. Each summer, descendants of the early Cornish gather for church services similar to those of their ancestors, maintaining ties with their heritage.
In patterns similar to those in Cornwall, the Keweenaw has seen the demise of mining and the exodus of people. Memories of people and customs fade and part of our identity as a people is emperiled with that fading. Heritage gives us stability so that we can work with the present and grow to the future.The Keweenaw County Historical Society has recognized the importance of preserving the heritage of the Copper Country. By purchasing Central, it has taken on a huge task which will require financial resources. Keweenaw Kernewek, the Cornish Connection of the Copper Country, hopes to support their effort.
Keskerdh Kernow (Cornwall Marches On) begins in St Keverne to commemorate a significant event in the history of Cornwall. We invite you to help preserve a significant site in the history of the Keweenaw by joining in the Parallel March from Clifton to Central. Walk with us and/or pledge an amount per mile for someone who will be walking. Checks should be made out to the Keweenaw County Historical Society and may be sent to Jean Ellis, HC1, Box 265 EE, Eagle Harbor, MI 49950.
Kernow (Cornwall) and the Keweenaw (Copper Country). Two beautiful peninsulas where people are striving to preserve their heritage. Won't you join the Keweenaw Kernewek in their support of the Keweenaw County Historical Society?
Keweenaw Kernewck Walk Big Success!Everybody's favorite Cornish Cousin, Jean Ellis, reports that the May 24th fund raising walk from the old Cornish mine location Clifton to the Cornish Central Mine location was a major success, thanks in large part to the strong support of many Eagle Harborites. The Central Mine closed in 1898, and $1,898 will be the amount Keweenaw Kernecwck will be able to report as contributed to the Keweenaw County Historical Society in support of the Society's efforts to preserve and restore the Central location.
Jean reports. "The weather was awful, but 50 to 60 hardy souls completed the six mile trek in good spirit, knowing that at march end they would not get their heads chopped off, as had been the fate of many Cornishmen who made the 300 mile trek to London 500 years ago to protest a tax levied by Henry VII to finance a war against Scotland." The Keweenaw Kernewck organized the Clifton to Central walk to commenerate the walk of 500 years ago. "I believe there were about six or seven commenerative walks in the United States this year. I'm sure this was the most successful. The final fund raising result greatly exceeded our expectation. Tom and I leave for Cornwall next week to join in the completion of a reenactment of the full 300 mile walk. I'll proudly share our success and some vidio tape of the Keweenaw event with everyone we meet."
Our thanks to Jean for her major role in the organization and implementation of the Keweenaw Walk and to the Keweenaw Kernecwck for their support of the Historical Society's Central preservation project. Congratulations to everyone, organizers and contributors alike, for the great success of this community endeavor.
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