James and Ellen White received a most hearty reception when they arrived in California on Wednesday evening, September 25, 1872. At the end of the rail line in Oakland they were met by brothers Conkrite and Stockton, who ushered them to the San Francisco Ferry and on to the Rowland home. Mrs. Rowland was a well-to-do Scottish woman on the verge of taking her stand for the Adventist message. It was midnight when they reached this home. Ellen White wrote, "We met and were introduced to twenty brethren and sisters who greeted us as cordially as we were ever greeted in our lives. These friends had waited at the house of Sister Rowland until twelve o'clock at night to receive us. We did not get to rest until a still later hour" (letter 16, 1872).
This was the beginning of the Whites' lifelong love affair with California. Such was their enthusiasm about the flowers, the scenery, the weather, the people, that they admitted privately:
James: "Nothing but stern duty will ever call us from this country."
Ellen: "We shall not neglect the work of God to view the work of nature."