Anyone for California?" asked James White. At the close of the General Conference session held in mid-May 1868, the ministers in attendance were given an opportunity to express their preferences as to the fields in which they would work during the coming year. California was as yet an unentered field as far as any denominational workers were concerned.
But eight years previously Merritt G. Kellogg had trekked with his family by ox team to California and worked in San Francisco as a carpenter. Then, as health reform was being promoted among Seventh-day Adventists, he returned to the East to take a medical course. He enrolled at Dr. Trall's Medical College, Florence Heights, New Jersey, where a few months later he was granted a diploma as a qualified physician and surgeon. He lingered in Michigan following his graduation, and at the General Conference session in mid-May made an earnest appeal for the General Conference to send a missionary to California to help him in his work in raising up a company of believers in San Francisco. The brethren agreed that in time such might be done.