Cornwall England,Cornish Cousin Jacks in America,Cornwall's greatest singer Richard Jose,cornish heritage,cornwallgb

 Cornwall England,Cornish Cousin Jacks in America,Cornwall's greatest singer Richard Jose,cornish heritage,cornwallgb

 

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Cornwall England,Cornish Cousin Jacks in America,Cornwall's greatest singer Richard Jose,cornish heritage,cornwallgb

 
Cornish Cousin Jacks
in America
 
Cornwall's Greatest Singer
RICHARD JOSE

Cornwall England,Cornish Cousin Jacks in America,Cornwall's greatest singer Richard Jose,cornish heritage,cornwallgb

 

Richard Jose -- pronounced Joaz -- was born in Lanner, Cornwall, 5 June 1869. His father died in 1878, so Richard was sent to stay with his Uncle Albert Jose working the Comstock Lode. Before Richard arrived, Albert was off to Butte, Montana. Arriving in Virginia City at nine years old with a shipping tag attached to his lapel and a few coins, Richard was alone in a strange land.


His second night in town, he entered one of three dozen saloons patronized by Cousin Jacks. Having learned singing on his daddy's knee, he walked up to the bar and begab singing, Where Is My Wandering Boy Tonight? He followed with, The Lone Grave, a Civil War ballad, popular in Cornwall. The Cousins gave him money and told him to return. He made the rounds for several nights before reform-minded women put a stop to having youngsters in saloons. Instead of singing he drove a bakery truck before moving to Carson City. Again, he was banned in saloons. He could drive a truck but couldn't sing in a bar. Then he moved to Reno to live with Uncle William J. Luke, blacksmith, at Fourth and Sierra streets.


Jose quickly became Reno's Blacksmith Balladeer, singing as he pounded out horseshoes and repaired farm equipment. He took singing lessons at Bishop Whitaker's School for Girls.


In 1884, a friend who had become manager of a California minstrel group, introduced him to Charles Reed, a booking agent. Richard joined one of his troupes in Sacramento at a salary of $12 a week. The troupe next played in San Francisco, and Jose was soon making $100 a week. As his fame grew, he was offered a position in New York City at the famed Lou Dockstadter's Minstrels at $150 per week. Once on Broadway, Jose was taken to heart by the city's music lovers, and he introduced more songs there than any performer in history.


In the 1890's, he began to make annual tours of Europe, where he sang for the crowned heads of every nation. On a tour of South Africa, Cecil Rhodes once closed down his diamond mines so his employees could attend Jose's concert. Chances are, they were Cornish miners. At Montreal, Canada, the accompanying organist once stopped in silence, awestruck by Jose's voice. During the Spanish-American War, he performed at troop encampments. Theodore Roosevelt, commander of the Rough Riders, once halted a patriotic parade and saluted as Jose gave a rendition of Goodby, Dolly Gray from a street platform.

 

Cornwall England,Cornish Cousin Jacks in America,Cornwall's greatest singer Richard Jose,cornish heritage,cornwallgb


Jose also began to record for the Victor Talking Machine Company, and made the company its first million dollars, when he cut, "Silver Threads Among the Gold," the song which became his anthem. When silent movies became popular at the turn of the century, Jose performed in one of the earliest Silver Threads Among the Gold, in 1911. For its opening in New York's Madison Square Garden, Jose stood in the wings watching the movement of the performers lips on the screen and sang his famous theme song. In a sense, the film was the first Talkie.


Jose's voice did not adapt well to radio -- possibly because of early radio's narrow bandwidth and low fidelity -- so he gave up singing in the 1920's. In 1919, California Governor William D. Stephens had appointed him to the position of Deputy Real Estate Commissioner, a job he held until his death in San Francisco on 20 October 1941.


Though largely forgotten in America by that time, he is still remembered in his native Cornwall. A silver trophy donated in Jose's honor by some American friends is annually awarded to the best musical choir in Cornwall.

 

Richard Jose rescued his mother from a fire in San Francisco, 10 May 1930.

 

 
 
 
 
 
Tell a Cornish Cousin Jack about
World Famous Cornish Singer
Tenor Richard Jose

Cornish American George Harrison Colliver Cornwall England,Cornish Cousin Jacks in America,Cornwall's greatest singer Richard Jose,cornish heritage,cornwallgb
 
 
 

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