[Mendocino Beacon March 24, 1906]

Nathaniel Smith, or "Nigger Nat" as he
was more familiarly known, died Wednesday
at his home on the south side of Big
river. He had been failing in health for a
year past, but managed to be up until a
couple of months ago, when his illness took
a serious turn and he was confined to his

Nat's age and birthplace are unknown,
but it is probable that he was seventy-five
or eighty years old. He was one of the
pioneer settlers of this coast, and no history
of Mendocino county would be complete
without some reference to him. He
came to this county with the late Charles
Fletcher, who had previously located at
Navarro, and settled at Cuffeys Cove with
Frank Farnier - "Portugee Frank" - whose
death occurred a few years ago. Nat facetiously
referred to himself and Frank as the
first two "white" men who settled at that

At one time or another Nat held some of
the best ranch properties along this coast;
but in those palmy days of long ago when
Big River "bits" - twenty-dollar pieces -
were the chief medium of exchange ranch
life was rather slow and land cheap and Nat
left the tilling of the soil to others to engage
in more exciting pursuits. He was a good
vaquero, and when Pine Grove boasted the
only race track on the coast and was at the
zenith of its fame Nat raced horses with
the best of 'em. In later years he took up
the quieter and less strenuous occupation of
fishing, which he followed more of less
steadily until his health failed last fall.

Nat's death will be sincerely regretted.
His jovial wit and ready repartee made him
friends everywhere, and his homely smiling
face was a reminder to many an old-timer
of the existence of other days. He was
buried Thursday afternoon in the old cemetery
on the hill, Rev. M.L. Goff officiating.
He leaves a wife and several children to
mourn his death.