Biography of Mark T. Smith
Ten Mile River Township, Mendocino County, CA Biographies





Mark T. Smith. This worthy pioneer and estimable gentleman, whose portrait we take pleasure in presenting to our readers in the body of this work, was born in Goffstown, New Hampshire, July 31, 1830, and was the son of Benjamin and May Hartin Smith. When he was quite young his parents removed to Alton, Madison county, Illinois, and young Smith availed himself of the presence of a first class educational institution in Upper Alton, Shurtleff College, now known to all her many thousand sons scattered all over the Union as " Dear old Shirtless," and attained an education inside its classic walls. June 12, 1846, he enlisted in the Second Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Colonel W. H. Bissel, for a twelve months' service in the Mexican war, and is one of the twenty six who are now left of all the rank and file of that body of brave volunteers. He was mustered out in August, 1847, and returned to Illinois. He spent the time till March 21, 1849, on the Mississippi river, when he started across the plains for California, making the trip from Fort Hall to Coloma in nineteen days and three hours, he being accompanied by four men and eleven animals, and reached Sacramento with only three animals. At Carson valley they met Calhoun Benham, "Sandy" Brown and Humphrey Marshall. When they met they had a grand jollification, and ate up all their provisions, unmindful of the morrow. Those who crossed the plains with him were William Carter, Arthur Madene, George Greathouse and Charles Cheeney. At Weaverville Smith's dress consisted of a pair of buckskin pants, hickory shirt, hat that had gone to seed, and one boot and one shoe, and his money consisted of $7.50. He being one of Nature's noble men, and so generous that he would go hungry, if necessary, to treat his friends in the best of style, he put down the $7 for a bottle of whiskey, and stowed the four bit piece away in his pouch for a bite of food when he got hungry again He proceeded to Coloma and there met a man from Illinois, with whom he worked till the fall of 1850. He then, with a party of fourteen, started on a prospecting tour through El Dorado county. In a place called Antonio canon they " struck it rich," and in a very short time they took out $40,00 He then returned to Cold Springs and began merchandising. He then was prospecting for eighteen months, and in the latter part of 1852 he began as clerk in the hotel known to all old time miners as the "Fourteen Mile House" on the Coloma road At the end of three years he went to Diamond Springs in El Dorado county, and engaged in the butchering business, which he followed till 1856. In that year he purchased eight thousand acres of the San Majilul grant, all of which he lost on account of poor title. In May, 1858, Mr. Smith came to Point Arena as agent for Don Leandro Lucco, the nominal owner of the Garcia grant. At the end of one year he purchased the shipping port at Fish Rock, where he remained engaged in the shipping business till 1861. He then sold his interests there and went to Yolo county, where he engaged in farming till 1865, when he returned to Point Arena and began clerking for A. W Hall, remaining there till 1874, when he moved to his present home in Ten mile River township, and is engaged in stock raising. Mr. Smith is still the same genial whole souled gentleman he was when he arrived in California, and is the soul of honor. In a word, he is in every sense a gentleman. In 1860 his neighbors honored him with the office of Supervisor, but he resigned before his term was out. He married Miss Carrie O'Neal, September 22, 1859, who died June 10, 1865. They had two children: Jennie, born November 16, 1860, and Carrie, born June 30 1861, and accidentally killed December 27, 1877.

From:
History of Mendocino County, California
Alley, Bowen & Co., Publishers
San Francisco, California 1880


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