Title: Germoe Parish, Cornwall, Parish Records (on LDS microfilm)
Title: Houghton County, MI, Vital Records
Title: Family Records, per Becky Sue Love
Title: Copy of Marriage Certificate
Note: BORN & RAISED: He was born and raised in County Cornwall, the far southwestern tip of England. The people there are of Celtic origin, though probably with of a lot of mixing over the centuries. The Saxon and then the Norman conquerors of England drove the native survivors, who were largely Celtic, into the far corners of the country. Cornwall, Wales, and Scotland were havens for them.
IMMIGRATION: According to Uncle Sam Richards, the oldest son, the family arrived in Michigan in 1873. Uncle Sam was born in England in 1869 and he was four years old when they got here. This was in a letter from Uncle Sam's son-in-law, Nils Eilertsen, to Ro some years ago. Uncle Dick was born in Quincy in August, 1873, and I remember Pop saying he was born right after they arrived.
OCCUPATION: Grandfather Richards was a tin miner in Cornwall, as were so many of his compatriots. However, in the early and middle 19th century, the tin mines all closed for reasons that are unclear. throwing thousands of miners out of work. Many of them emigrated to the US and Canada to work in the coal mines of Pennsylvania, gold mines out west, and in the new copper and iron mines of Upper Michigan. I remember my father saying his father worked in the Pennsylvania coal mines for a very short time, but did not like mining coal. He then heard about the copper mines in Michigan and moved his family there. Phyllis remembers Pop talking about his father working on the Erie Canal, but both of these stories could be true for short periods.
RESIDENCES: The family settled in "Quincy Location", an unincorporated area "up the hill" from Hancock. It was quite a large settlement built by the Quincy Mining Co. for the married miners. All of those houses were identical 2-story frame structures, without running water and with an outhouse in back. In fact, all of the mining companies in the UP must have used the same house plans as they all look alike everywhere! While many were torn down or otherwise disappeared, a lot of them have been modernized and are still lived in.
CENSUS: The 1880 Census (seen at the Archives Room, Michigan Tech Library) shows the family living in Quincy Location. It consisted of William Richards, 43, Miner, born in England; Johanna, 37, born in England; Samuel, 12, born in England; Richard, 7; Emma, 5; William, 1, with Samuel and Richard in school.
EDUCATION: Our grandfather probably did not have much education, but Pop said he loved books and loved to read. Pop told Phyllis that when my grandparents left England, their friends gave them an organ and a valuable set of books which they kept for many years. When his health no longer allowed him to mine, he became a "book agent", selling some kinds of books.
HEALTH: As with so many miners, my grandfather suffered from "Miners Complaint", which was probably silicosis or Black Lung disease. As in the above excerpt, he had to quit mining early and died at 52.
BURIAL: He is probably buried in Old Quincy Cemetery, Quincy Location, MI. (per letter from Nils Eilertsen to Ro 9/3/79)
EXCERPT: The following is an excerpt from "Born of Iron", Iron Mountain, Mich. 1879-1979 in Uncle Ro's papers:
"COUSIN JACK" The Cornish began mining in northern Michigan as early as 1849. They settled first in the copper country of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Their previous knowledge of mining enabled them to obtain the top paying jobs and by 1882 almost all of the Captains, Superintendents, and shift boses were Cornish. It seemed that every mine position was reserved for another "cousin" from Cornwall; hence the term "Cousin Jack". Their working days were finished before 40, and few ever reached the age of 60.
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