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Headstone for Nathaniel Smith's Grave

Déductible des impôts
Nathaniel Smith arrived in Mendocino County in the 1850s and is believed to be the first African American to settle on the coast. The Kelley House Museum, with support from California Humanities, commissioned research on him for an exhibit that launched in March, 2024. During the research process, using historic maps from Hillcrest Cemetery in Mendocino, we were able to locate his unmarked grave. As part of restoring Nathaniel Smith's history to the Mendocino Coast, where he lived most of his life, we are raising funds for his descendants to install a permanent headstone at the gravesite. We appreciate any and all donations. Read on for more about his life:

In the Kelley House Museum exhibit, Nathaniel's story is revealed through photos, clippings, and artifacts. Smith was at one time “known to every man, woman and child on the coast.” He was celebrated for his wit, good nature, and essential work as a hunter, fisherman, farmer, and ferry operator. When Smith arrived in Mendocino, California passed laws and instituted policies discriminating against African Americans and Native Americans. As his popularity in the region grew, he also endured the racism of some of his neighbors, including the frequent use of a derogatory nickname. Despite the challenges, Smith succeeded in many professions, owned a home and land, and raised a family. This exhibition presents details of Nathaniel Smith's life set against the history of California’s treatment of people of color.

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  • Robert Evans
    • $18 
    • 2 mos
  • Kerry Wesela
    • $50 
    • 2 mos
  • Shelly Contreras
    • $50 
    • 3 mos
  • Robert Adron Harris
    • $100 
    • 4 mos
  • anne semans
    • $40 
    • 4 mos
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Anne Semans
Mendocino, CA
Kelley House Museum Incorporated

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