The adventure of two Cornish brothers seeking their fortune in the California gold rush. Inspired by an interview with a Cornish miner upon his return from California in 1860, and this post on the British Library’s Untold Lives blog: Aw How I Ded Long for a Tatie Pasty.
The American gold rush has always fascinated me; such a lawless situation gives a really interesting insight into the natural morality of human beings when there is no one around to control them. When I found this post about an interview with a Cornish tin miner who went to California with his brother to make his fortune, I had to do a story about it! Being the oldest of three brothers, the interview really struck a nerve with me. It is written in Cornish dialect and I used it as a structure for the story. I took a few quotes from it, and built the world of Cornishmen in the Sierra Nevada hills around those quotes. – Jamie Rhodes
It is a tale of brotherly love and the violent lives that the miners led during the gold rush. Interestingly, there was such a huge influx of Cornish people to California that many towns and villages still have pasty shops to this day! Amidst all the glamour, celebrity and technology giants, a small reminder of California’s humble beginnings.
“He took a pistol from his belt and handed it to me. Other men who were knelt close by in the river peeped up at us, real squinty eyes in their mucky faces. I noted well that they all carried at least one pistol. Quick as a lightning clap, Tom drew his other pistol and pointed it at one of the peepers! Aw! My little brother! A gunman! Well, the starin’ muck rake looked down fast, attendin’ back to his swillin’ pan proper, I assure thee!” – Isaac, How I Did Long fer a Tattie Pasty