Settler of the Mendocino Coast
1838 - 1906
.......Nathaniel Smith was one of the
pioneer settlers of California's Mendocino coast and no history
of Mendocino County would be complete without some reference to
him. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland around 1838 and sailed west
to California as a boy about the time of the gold rush. He first
lived in Marin County where he owned and operated the first ferry
boat service to cross the bay from Sausalito to San Francisco. After
a few years in Marin he moved north to the Mendocino coast where
he became one of the first settlers and at one time or another owned
some of the best ranch properties in the area.
For over half a century Nat lived on the Mendocino coast and in
that time he did such things as hunt game like grizzly bear and
elk, raced horses, fished in the fashion of the Native Americans,
and worked as a teamster. He outlived his first two Indian wives
and two of his six children, he even survived having his throat
cut with a knife, but perhaps most importantly he managed to leave
a mid 19th century slave state and come to California where he could
essentially create his own world as a pioneer of the American West.
Smith became a legend on the coast during his own lifetime and his
doings were reported in the local papers, as were those of celebrities.
He was regarded with genuine affection by those of every age and
was remembered long after his passing.
objective of this web page is to create a database of all the
newspaper articles, documents, photographs, excerpts from history
books and other records regarding Nathaniel Smith.