When the first copper mines began to explore the Keweenaw for its copper riches, the Keweenaw was a highly rugged and unforgiving land. The long and harsh winters, hot and bug infested summers, and the thin soil and short growing season took a toll on the early settlers that attempted to carve a life out of the wilderness. To make matters worse, the job of mining in itself was dangerous and extremely hard. Mine accidents were common place, and several times a week the mines would cut down a man in his prime. Without hospitals and doctors most sicknesses - even minor ones - would often end in death while babies born on the peninsula had a good chance of dying before their tenth birthday.
This harsh reality of the Keweenaw can be easily appreciated at any one of the regions several cemeteries and burial grounds. Chiseled into the worn and broken markers scattered across these sites are the names of the men, women and children that met their maker along the rugged slopes and wind-swept shores of the peninsula.