José do Telhado
THE CASE (1859-1861)
Zé do Telhado was the leader of a gang of robbers, famous for stealing from the rich to give to the poor - kind of a Portuguese Robin Hood. His reputation made him into a legend, a romantic icon that owes much to Camilo Castelo Branco, with whom he was imprisoned in Porto, in the Court of Appeal’s Jail (Cadeia da Relação). Camilo Castelo Branco and Zé do Telhado became friends, and the author talks about him in his book "Memórias do Cárcere".
He was arrested in 1859, tried at the Judicial Court of Marco de Canaveses (trial started on April 25, 1859) and sentenced to banishment for life to the west coast of Africa. Although his sentence was later commuted to 15 years in exile, Zé do Telhado eventually died in Angola.
José do Telhado
José Teixeira da Silva was born on June 22, 1818 in Telhado, Castelões - Penafiel. At the age of 14 he departs to live with an uncle in Caíde de Rei, Lousada, and at the age of 27 he marries his cousin Ana Lentina de Campos, with whom he had 5 children.
He pursued a military career where he excelled, reaching the highest Portuguese award: the Order of the Tower and Sword, Valour, Loyalty and Merit. However, his involvement in the losing side of the “Maria da Fonte” uprising (1846) led to his dismissal from the army. Unemployed, he ends up getting involved with outlaws, leading a gang accountable for several robberies in the region of Baião, Celorico de Basto, Fafe, Felgueiras, Lousada, Marco de Canaveses, Santa Cruz de Riba Tâmega, etc.
Imprisoned in Porto, in the Court of Appeal’s Jail in 1859, he is tried in the Judicial Court of Marco de Canaveses (trial started on April 25, 1859) and sentenced to banishment for life to the west coast of Africa, a sentence that was then commuted by the Court of Appeal of Porto to 15 years of banishment.
He left for exile in Africa and settled in Malange, where he lived until his death at the age of 57, as a renowned businessman, esteemed by the local population. He got remarried while in Africa and had 3 children from this marriage.
In the village of Xissa, municipality of Mucari, where he was buried, a mausoleum was erected in his honour and, to this day, is an object of interest.
THE DUNGEONS OF THE JAIL
Zé do Telhado met and befriended the writer Camilo Castelo Branco while he was imprisoned in the Court’s Jail.
Camilo must have shared with him his fears that Ana Plácido’s uncle would pay someone, from inside the Jail, to kill him. Zé do Telhado reassured him that he would be safe, telling him that if someone laid a finger on him, three days and three nights would not suffice to bury the dead.
Their friendship led Camilo to share his defence lawyer, Marcelino de Matos, with Zé do Telhado.