Every year about this time, the new Visitor Guide arrives in town. The Chamber of Commerce is pleased to present the 2016 edition, which features cover art by Mineral Point artist, Jan Johnson. Within its pages you will also find some playful creatures – tommyknockers. Jane Wilcoxson, also a Mineral Point artist, has painted a variety of these little guys having a good time in town.
What is a tommyknocker, you ask?
Hidden deep within the mines of Cornwall, these faeries were helpful to the men working in the dark underground. When the miners left their homes and traveled across the sea to work the mines of southwest Wisconsin, the little spirit creatures made the trip with them. Tommyknockers get their name from strange knocking sounds that were heard on mineshaft walls. These invisible knockers were thought to be the ghosts of deceased miners who would warn of impending disaster. Sometimes, these helpful faeries would lead the men to a rich vein of ore. But they could also be mischievous practical jokers – who else would be responsible for missing tools or food? Although fun loving and helpful little beings, it was best not to irritate the tommyknockers, for they could become vindictive if they were abused or neglected. Miners often left a bit of their pasty lunch behind for their invisible companions – just to be sure they stayed friendly and to thank them for their help.