Nathaniel Alexander Smith, farmer and state representative, was born in Amherst, Virginia, on November 25, 1789. He was the son of John and Mary (Whitehead) Smith. Sources vary regarding Smith’s military service. He may have been a lieutenant in the Tennessee militia during 1813–14, serving under Andrew Jackson in the Creek War during the War of 1812. Genealogy records also report that he was a captain in the Mississippi Territory militia in 1816 and served in the Madison County, Alabama, militia from 1818 to 1822. Most likely he settled in Alabama as a young man. On February 13, 1813, Smith married Martha Amonette in Madison County, Alabama. They had several children. During the late 1820s Nathaniel Smith represented Madison County in the Alabama House of Representatives. He was a representative for Pickens County in the Alabama House from 1840 to 1844.
About 1841, following the death of his wife, Smith married Francis Virginia Martin Bruton Anderson, a widow, and they had two sons and two daughters. Smith immigrated with his family to Texas and settled in Harrison County by 1850 and quickly established himself as a prosperous and influential leader in local affairs. He represented Harrison County in the House of the Sixth Texas Legislature from 1855 to 1857. He was a leading member of the Texas Know Nothings (see AMERICAN PARTY), a political party focused on halting the influence of foreigners in political and economic affairs as well as intent on unseating the dominant political position of the Democratic Party in Texas. By 1860 Smith was worth $57,800 in personal and real estate property and was the owner of eight slaves. He died around 1864 in Woodlawn, Harrison County, Texas.