Eustace Families Association

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Cornish Namesakes Who Emigrated to the USA

By: Dawna (Eustice) Lund

Historically, mining was the principal occupation in Cornwall , dating back at least to between 1000 and 2000 B.C. when Cornwall is thought to have been visited by metal traders from the eastern Mediterranean . Some of these traders may have stayed and inter-married with the local peoples, which may explain why DNA tests of the descendants from Cornish namesakes indicate a distant origin in the Caucasus region of the Middle East .

Historically, Cornwall supplied most of the tin, copper, zinc, lead, arsenic and silver used in Britain and her colonies. Originally found as alluvial deposits in stream beds and coastal outcroppings, eventually it became necessary to dig for the ores.  Underground mines made an appearance in Cornwall as early as the 16th century. Inevitably the mine shafts dropped below the water table, requiring water be pumped out before continuing any deeper.

Hence housings for the pumps and the engines became necessary. These engine houses were the sturdiest buildings at the mines, as they both housed the machinery and supported the massive beams that worked the pumps. It is not surprising that it is many of these engine houses or their ruins dot the landscape in Cornwall still today.

The traditional Cornish Pasty, a meat and vegetable pie something like a Calzone, had its origins as the working lunch for miners. It was nourishing, easy to carry underground and could be eaten with dirty fingers. The filling and untouched portion of the pastry crust would be consumed and the dirty portion of the pasty discarded as an offering to appease the “knockers”, capricious spirits who might otherwise lead miners into danger.

By the mid-19th century, the Cornish mining industry and population had reached its zenith.  Foreign competition depressed the price of copper and tin to a point which made mining Cornish ore unprofitable and lead to the decline and eventual collapse of the industry. Today, there are no more metal mining operations in Cornwall , only china-clay mining, but some mine sites and their associated buildings have been preserved as historical reminders of Cornwall ’s mining past. In the summer of 2006, the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape was named as a World Heritage Site, acknowledging the contribution the area made to the industrial revolution and to the fundamental influence the area had on mining at large.

The combination of declining employment at home and the discovery of new mineral reserves overseas motivated many Cornish to seek a better life elsewhere. Moving offered the chance of better pay and conditions, and the opportunity to more quickly rise to a position of responsibility. Cornwall was soon gripped by a ‘culture of emigration’, a belief that the best way to get on in the world was to get out of Cornwall . It is estimated that over a quarter of a million Cornish migrated abroad in the latter half of the 19th century and the majority of them were miners. In every decade from the 1860s to the early 1900s, some 20% of the male working population departed. The extent of this mass population exodus, known as the Cornish Diaspora, is typified by the parish of Crowan, which lost nearly half its population, declining from 3982 in 1851 to 2066 in 1911.

Our namesakes joined other “Cousin Jacks and Jennys” – slang terms for Cornish migrants - as they scattered all over the world to utilize their mining skills. They ventured forth to establish homes in the mining areas of the United States , Canada , Australia , New Zealand , South Africa , Central and South America , the Caribbean Islands and elsewhere in the British Isles . As the Cornish were expert at hard rock mining and in making and maintaining equipment to service the mines, their skills were highly sought worldwide. It is said that, “If you find a hole in the ground anywhere in the World, you will find a Cornishman at the bottom of it.”  It has estimated that today there are over 6 million people in the world who can trace their ancestry to Cornwall .  For more information on the history of mining in Cornwall see www.cornish-mining.org.

Those namesakes who emigrated from Cornwall to the United States during the 19th century include the following:

1. Richard Eustice (1821-1900)

2. John Eustice (1827-1860)

3. John G. Eustice (1806-1882)

4. Richard W. Eustice (1809-1890)

5. John Eustice (1845-1889)

6. William Eustis (1801-c1870+)

7. William Eustice (1828-1889)

8. John Eustice (1844-1902)

9. James Eustice (1847-1911)

10. Josiah Eustice (1849-1909)

11. George Eustice (1816-1898)

12. George Eustis (1811-1856)

13. Tobias Eustis (1821-1889)

14. George Eustis (1847-1909)

15. Richard Eustice (1811-1854)

16. John Eustice (c1804-1850+)

17. John N. Eustice (1826-1899)

 

18. William James Eustice (1830-1897)

 

19. James Eustice (1832-1916)

 

20. William Eustice (1816-1858)

 

21. Thomas Eustice (1846-1885+)

 

22. William Henry Eustice (1810-c1870+)

 

23. John P. “Jackie” Eustice (1826-1900)

 

24. Thomas Eustice (1811-1858)

 

25. William Eustice (1845-1893+)

 

26. Richard Eustice (1840-??)

 

27. William H. Eustice (1831-??)

If you have additional information on any of these men or their descendants please contact:

Dawna J. Lund

Box 10583, San Bernardino, CA 92423 USA

or Email Me

These pages Ronald & Margaret Eustice, 2013