Thursday, September 28, 2017


"Alcaide de la Cárcel"
"Prison Warden"
Guam Court Document in 1901

A branch of the Camacho family on Guam is known as the familian Atkaide.

What does Atkaide mean?

It's the Chamorro version of the Spanish word alcaide, seen in the Guam court document above. An alcaide was a prison warden; the man in charge of a jail or prison. Guam had a jail in Spanish times, located in Hagåtña. It was called the Cárcel Pública in Spanish, or kalaboso in Chamorro (borrowed from the Spanish word calabozo). By the late 1800s, the jail was located at the courthouse or tribunåt in Hagåtña.

How did a person named Camacho get the nickname Atkaide?

Benigno Camacho, married to Magdalena Palomo, was a member of the local militia. When he retired from that, he was made the alcaide of the local jail in Hagåtña. This information is taken from the Guam Recorder, a monthly news journal published on Guam before the war :

"(Benigno) was a sergeant in the local company of artillery, who upon retirement from military service, was appointed warden of the civil jail at Agana, which post he occupied for some years under the Spanish administration." (Guam Recorder, March 1937)

So, having the job of alcaide, it isn't any wonder that he was soon known himself as Benigno'n Atkaide, and the name passed down to his son, Vicente Palomo Camacho. Vicente was educated at the highest school available in the Marianas at the time, the Colegio de San Juan de Letrán in Hagåtña. There he learned Spanish, enabling him to work for the Spanish government as a clerk in the local court. Then he clerked for the Registrar of Lands, who, under the first American administration, was William E. Safford, who helped Vicente learn English.

Judge Vicente Palomo Camacho, "Atkaide"

Vicente then became a kind of attorney for clients living in the outlying villages, then Deputy Island Attorney then Judge. In 1935, he retired from government service and concentrated on farming, having two ranches, one in Barrigada and one in Mangilao by the old Price Road. His retirement was cut short when the Americans returned after World War II, as he was appointed back to the bench. He finally retired for good in 1947.

A street in Leyang, Barrigada named after the Atkaide family

Apartments named with a more exact spelling of the family nickname

No comments:

Post a Comment