ARKANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY, Volume
24 (Spring 1965), p. 67
Dr. Nathan D. Smith
By Brenda Ball
Arkansas had a number of important and useful
citizens in her formative years, but few of these have been more neglected
by state historians than Dr. Nathan Douglas Smith, whose weather records,
kept at Washington, Arkansas and published by the Smithsonian Institution
in 1860, have been a lasting contribution to our state's people. Born in
Connecticut, September 3, 1791, Nathan Smith graduated from Fairfield Medical
School, a noted medical college founded in 1812 at Fairfield, New York.
He then practiced under "the celebrated Dr. Hull, of New York, one
of the prominent physicians of his day (1)." Diploma in hand, he migrated
in about 1817 to New Orleans, seeking a place to practice his profession.
When nothing was found immediately, he hired out as a journeyman printer,
a trade he had learned as a boy before beginning his medical studies (2).
- In the winter of 1818-1819 he encountered a group of Arkansas cotton
planters who had come to the Crescent City from Hempstead County, in the
southwest corner of the territory.
- *The author is a graduate student at the University Of Arkansas.
- 1. Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Southern Arkansas ....
- 1890), 292; National Cylopedia of American Biography.....Vol.
II (New York, 1921), 194; Mrs. Russell Spicer to author, Magnolia, Arkansas,
November 21, 1963, quoting from Smith Family Bible. (This letter is cited
hereafter as Mrs. Spicer, who in Dr. Smith's great-granddaughter, to author,
November 21, 1963. It is in possession of the author.)
- 2. (Little Rock) Daily Arkansas Gazette, August 29, 1867; unsigned
letter in Smith's hand to
- Joseph Henry, Washington, Arkansas, November 1, 1860, in which Smith
recalls being "a printer boy, fifty years ago." The letter is
owned by Mrs. Raymond Stuart, Atlanta, Texas, a great-granddaughter of
Dr. Smith. (Cited hereafter as Smith to Henry, November 1, 1860.