Cornwall is located on the southwestern tip of England on a large peninsula that divides the English Channel on the south from the Celtic Sea on the north. For the Cornish, mining had been a way of life for over a thousand years. After centuries of pulling metals out of the ground, they learned to harvest the ores buried deep in rock. When gold and silver were discovered in Idaho Springs, the Cornish miners were ranked among the world’s greatest hard-rock miners. The tin and copper mines had failed in Cornwall, and many Cornish immigrated to the mining frontiers of the American West.
Called “Cousin Jacks” and “Cousin Jennies” in the new territories, these men and women brought with them words that became the standard language of mining, as well as the legendary Tommyknockers, elf-like creatures who live in the mines. Though these little people were rarely seen, they were often heard tapping in the mines and even singing. The miners developed a superstitious respect for these large-headed, bearded little men. There are many stories of friendly Tommyknockers saving a miner’s life, as well as plentiful stories of michief done by these little creatures. Some say that these mystical men still reside in the hills. I guess you’ll have to come and see for yourself.