Tombstone Tuesday: Antonio, the Mystery Man

Tombstone Tuesday: Antonio, the Mystery Man

When I first visited St. Mary’s Cemetery in Oakland, California, I walked in two sections. It wasn’t until the second trip that I explored an older section of the cemetery and came across this tombstone:


This is the grave site for my Great Great Uncle, Antonio Pacheco, and my Great Great Aunt, Alexandrinha (Jose) Pacheco. There’s something curious going on here, though.  Antonio was buried under the name “Antone P. Algravia”.  Algravia (aka Algrava, Algarva) was a surname the Pacheco’s began using around 1908 in California.  It was said that they took on this surname to hide the fact that brother, Theodoro, who had been diagnosed with leprosy, was in California illegally.  What makes it curious is Antonio’s line never used Algravia.  So, why was he buried under that name?

Antonio is a bit of a mystery.  He “appears” in Hawaii around 1889 to get married to Alexandrinha Jose, daughter of Manoel Jose and Maria dos Anjos Ferreira.  I say that he appears because there doesn’t seem to be any record of his existence on Earth prior to that date.

His mother and siblings came to Hawaii in 1882, but Antonio wasn’t with them.  Nor is he listed in the records for Achada where his siblings and mother were born or in Fenais da Vera Cruz (aka Fenais d’Ajuda) where his father was from.  I even checked the nearby town of Algarvia.  Nada!

So, who is Antonio and where did he come from? Mysteries swirl around him.  Some say he came to Hawaii first.  Others that he left the Azores on a whaling ship.  There’s a rumor that he went to Massachusetts, married, lost both wife and child, then joined the family in Hawaii.

The earliest record I have is the certificate he received for joining the Portuguese society “Sociedade Lusitania”.  On this paper, he noted his name as Antonio Pacheco Algarvio.  For a man who never used the Algravia surname in California, he sure made a point of it before he got there!  In fact, he is the only one of the Pacheco’s to use that surname prior to arriving in California.

The family claims him as a Pacheco, but sometimes I wonder.  Perhaps he was a adopted.  Or maybe he was the child of one of his parents but not both.  I’m still looking for the ever elusive church marriage record to see what Antonio has to say about it.

For now, he sits there staring at me from the photo on this blog (he is second from the left in the backrow) keeping all his mysteries to himself.  Someday I may know his story.  Right now, I’m just frustrated in that I can answer the many questions he’s left behind.


On a side note, this tombstone makes me a little sad.  Poor Alexandrinha is only noted as Mrs. A.P.!  How important it is to record the names and lives of our female relatives.  Otherwise, they may only be remembered as “Mrs.”

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2 thoughts on “Tombstone Tuesday: Antonio, the Mystery Man

  1. Diane, thanks! Someday… And, that’s very true about women. Sometimes they are only a “Mrs.” or a first name and that all we ever learn about them.

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