Tombstone Tuesday: Willie P. Smith

Tombstone Tuesday: Willie P. Smith

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willie-p-smithOne of the strangest discoveries at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Oakland, California was coming across the tombstone of Willie P. Smith.  Willie was most likely born as Guilherme Pacheco but some how recorded as Wilhelm Pacheco by a 1900 Census enumerator who was obviously a little confused.  He is the third child of Theodoro Pacheco and Maria de Braga.

Willie was born on the 22nd of June 1899, Kilauea, Kauai, Hawaii.  He left Kauai with his family ca 1907.  The family took up residence in Oakland, Alameda Co., California on the family owned, or so it seemed, E. 25th Street.

Willie came down with influenza in the winter of 1912.  He died on the 1st of January 1913 at the age of 13.  Just a few months later his father would pass away from Hansen’s Disease (aka leprosy).

The reason I said that this was a strange discovery is that while his parents didn’t have much money, this plot was bought for Willie alone.  Years later his youngest brother, Joao, would be buried in the plot.  But in 1913, Willie had his own plot.  Yet, less than a year later his mother would purchase a larger plot for her husband and herself, and then several young family members would be buried there within two or three years of purchase.

It strikes me as odd for a family with limited financial resources with a father who was clearly dying.  Theodoro had been not been working in 1910 and his death certificate shows that he was under going medical treatment.  It isn’t as if Maria was unaware that her husband was dying when Willie succumbed to influenza.  Why buy the smaller plot for Willie knowing that Theodoro would follow him soon after?

Just one more mystery that the family left behind.  They were good for that!

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