Nathaniel Smith
Pioneer Settler of the Mendocino Coast
1838 - 1906

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.......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.

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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.

 

 

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The 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 



Newspaper Articles
Obituary Mendocino Beacon Mar 24, 1906 text html image 234K
Obituary Fort Bragg Advocate Mar 28, 1906 text html    
Obituary 3 from ? Mar 27, 1906 text      
Thought to be Dead Jan 15,1881 text html image 271K
Presenting the Past Aug 06, 1986 text html    
Rheumatism Jan 11, 1901 text html    
Great Haul of Salmon Dec 08, 1900 text html    
Wolfe Howls column May 1948 text html image 369K
Indian Wife's Grave   text html image 164K
Three Men in a Boat Jun 17, 1999 text html image 279K
The Blacksmith claim at Booldam Feb 17, 2000 text html image 309K

Photos
Nathaniel Smith
1892 1892 large 396K small 36K  
Nathaniel Smith Big River 1892 photograph 218K
Nathaniel Smith Comparison 1892 photograph 80K
Nathaniel Smith Younger   photograph 185K
"Bob" Nat's dog drawn by Grace Hudson ~1892 drawing 35K
Nathaniel's friend Francisco Faria a.k.a. Portugee Frank   photograph 127K
Francisco Faria Grave July 30, 2001 photograph 163K

Books
Mendocino City, A Daily Journal 1852-1938 p.13 1986 text
Mendocino City, A Daily Journal 1852-1938 p.57 1986 text
Mendocino City, A Daily Journal 1852-1938 p. 221 1986 text
Mendocino County Remembered - George Emerick 1976 text
Mendocino County Remembered - Elsie Farnsworth 1976 text
Mendocino County 1880 History (Reprint) 1967 text
Early Settlers of Comptche, Along its Many Roads 1973 text
Big River was Dammed (Nat's Opening) 1975 text

Other
Mendocino Historical Review Vol. 2 No. 4 page 3 Autumn 1975 text
Overland Monthly Interview with Nathaniel Smith September 1892 text
Overland Monthly Staging in the Mendocino Redwoods 1 August 1892 text
Radio Drama about Nathaniel and Charles Fletcher March 13, 1949 Word Doc text

Documents
Nathaniel and Caroline Homestead Deed Oct 07, 1870 text page 1 244K
Nathaniel and Caroline Homestead Deed Oct 07, 1870   page 2 198K
Nathaniel Smith Voter Registration 1880 text    
Nathaniel Smith Voter Registration 1902 text    
Nathaniel Smith Property Tax 1878   image 149K
Nathaniel Smith Property Tax 1879   image 167K
Nathaniel Smith Mendocino Census 1870   image 432K
Hamilton Bever to N.S. Land Deed Mar 03, 1877 text    
Nathaniel Smith Receipt - Marin County Feb 15, 1851 text image 59K
Nathaniel Smith Marin County Census 1850   image 329K
Smith and Heeser Temporary Dwelling note 1858   image 236K

William Heeser's Store Ledger 1859
Page 03 April 28, 1859 text excerpt image 58K full page image 104K
Page 04 April 28, 1859 text excerpt image 29K  
Page 05 April 28, 1859   excerpt image 27K  
Page 07 1859   excerpt image 36K  
Page 35 May 15, 1859   excerpt image 63K  
Page 39 1859   excerpt image 19K  
Page 40 1859   excerpt image 26K  
Page 78 June 26, 1859   excerpt image 36K  

Related Sites
  • Navarro-by-the-Sea Center
    This website has a lot of good information on Nathaniel Smith, Capt. Charles Fletcher and Francisco Faria,
    definitely worth reading.
  • Mendocino County Indexes
    Phil Carnahan's definitive site for Mendocino County, California genealogy. This site has an amazing amount
    of information online.
  • Pomo People Brief History
    Nathaniel's first two wives were Pomo and his third wife was half Pomo, this is a good article on the history
    of the Pomo People.
  • Making of America
    Here you can find the 1892 Overland Monthly articles Staging in the Mendocino Redwoods parts
    1 and 2 in their entirety.


since 01.23. 2002