A Bit About The Cornish Festival

The Southwest Wisconsin Cornish Society was formed in 1991 to raise awareness of the influence the early Cornish immigrants had on SW Wisconsin in general and Mineral Point in particular. Jim Jewell was the first president of the organization that quickly grew in numbers with members scattered all around the country. Jim had long dreamed of a festival celebrating the still very visible evidence of the Cornish culture.

In 1993, Edgar Hellum, one of the restorers of the Pendarvis complex, was named a Bard of the Cornish Gorsedd for his work in saving and preserving the Cornish-built buildings on Shake Rag Street. The first festival was a one day affair with an afternoon program at the UCC Church, where Edgar was presented his Bardic certificate, in a mini-ceremony with Howard Curnow of St. Hilary, Cornwall, presiding. The day was capped off with an evening pasty banquet and program, also at the church. About 100 people attended. In 1994 the festival was expanded to two days. The Taste of Mineral Point became a part of Cornish Fest in 1995. As time went on, recognition of other Celtic peoples has been included. In keeping with our mission of education as well as entertainment, genealogy seminars were occasionally a part of the Festival.

Cousin Jacks and Jennys

Cornish Memorials

At last year's Cornish Festival the Southwest Wisconsin Cornish Society unveiled a striking cast iron historic marker in the pocket park adjacent to the 1915 Mineral Point Opera House. The plaque details the city's Cornish heritage and "Our Cornish Life." In 2016, the city's Common Council voted to designate the downtown green space, owned by the city, as the "Cornish Heritage Park." The Society is now drafting plans for significant additions for visitors at the site. 

In the nearby Public Library, a memorial to the Cornish who migrated to this region in the 1800's graces a wall, commemorating Cornish miners, the local mining history, and the area's farming practices. The Society commissioned the work by Bruce Howdle, a local artist who captures history in his murals of clay.

Cornwall Family History Society Records

We are fortunate to have the records from the Cornwall Family History Society available to us on line in Southwest Wisconsin for researching our Cornish ancestors. Birth, death, and marriage records that happened in Cornwall are all accessible on CFHS records. You may contact either one of the two convenient depositories at the Southwest Wisconsin Room in the Ulsvick Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville (608-342-1719) or at the Mineral Point Library Archives in Mineral Point, Wisconsin (608-987-2447). They are available FREE for your use and you may order copies of documents from Cornwall for a small fee. Please remember that these records are a work in progress, not a finished product. We suggest you call ahead to make certain the facility is open and available on the day you wish to visit. The Mineral Point Library Archives is open on Thursday from 12:00 pm - 8:00 pm and Saturday from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm.

In addition to the CFHS records, you may be surprised at the array of genealogical information you may find at both of these fine libraries.

Kernow bys vykken!

(Cornwall forever!)


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