Kellogg A Carpenter


The Mission to California


Merritt G. Kellogg, elder son of Battle Creek businessman J.P. Kellogg, had in 1859, with his family, trekked to California by ox team. He worked in San Francisco for eight years 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, at Florence Heights, New Jersey, where a few months later he was granted a diploma as a qualified physician and surgeon. [In succeeding years Kellogg took more advanced training.] He lingered in Michigan following his graduation, and at the General Conference session in mid-May made an earnest appeal that the General Conference should 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.

J. N. Loughborough had come to the conference with the deep impression that he should go to California, but he had revealed this to no one. In no less than twenty dreams he seemed to be working there! At the meeting the ministers were given an opportunity to express their preferences as to the fields in which they should labor during the coming year. After most had expressed themselves, James White asked, “Has no one had any impressions of duty with reference to the California field?” Up to this time Loughborough had remained silent: now he stood and spoke of his impressions and offered his services for work in the West. Loughborough reported on what followed:


Brother White then remarked, “When the Lord sent forth His servants, He sent them two and two, and it seems as though two ministers should go to that distant field.” ...Then Elder [D. T.] Bourdeau arose and stated how his mind had been exercised, and that he had come to the meetings with his companion and all his earthly substance ready to go where the conference might say.—Pacific Union Recorder, July 3, 1913.

White counseled, “Will Brethren Bourdeau and Loughborough pray over this together and separately until the day the Review goes to press, that they may be sure of the mind of the Lord in the matter?”

At the appropriate time, when White called for their word, the two brethren replied, “California, or nothing.” White then called for $1,000 to buy a tent and start the mission. At this time the rails extended only to the Rocky Mountains; the journey had to be made by ship to the Isthmus of Panama and then by another ship to San Francisco. For the next year and beyond, readers of the Review were thrilled by the reports from the missionaries, first on the trip itself, and then on the tent meetings and the organization of churches in the valleys north of San Francisco.

2BIO 242-243



Even before finding the site, Dr. Merrit Kellogg, a builder from his younger years and the physician-carpenter who in 1878 designed and built the health retreat near St. Helena, California, had drawn up plans for the Sanitarium building. He was somewhat restricted in size, for there were other places needing such institutions. When the question of building materials came up, wood was chosen in place of masonry—for comfort, roominess, and economy.

T 7 83,84



“The following day Elder White was informed that the selection had been made and it was suggested they bring Sister White so they might look over the site together. The trio walked to the southeast and halted on the hillside. Mrs. Scott spoke:

“If you will let me have a piece of land here, Sister White, I will build a home. Just look at that beautiful view.”

Elder White was startled and Mrs. Scott disappointed when Sister White, looking over the valley and then back at the hillside, said, “No, I can’t let you have this piece, Sister Scott. I have been shown there will be other buildings here someday.”

Elder White, who was eager not to offend this good woman and who thought that there was plenty of room for all the buildings that would be needed, could hardly understand this. But the word was final, and Sister Scott built on another location, “Simonnetta,” overlooking the valley, to the north of and close to Sister White’s “Eliel.”

The incident was forgotten. Twenty-four years passed by. “Eliel” was needed for the growing sanitarium work. Ellen White made it available, and at this writing it is still in use.—As told to the author by WCW. The time came also when the Sanitarium needed the 8 1/2 acres Ellen White held, and she sold it to the institution.

Dedication of the Hospital

Now on October 20, 1907, a beautiful fall day, she and her son were at the dedication of the new hospital building. The service was well attended by Sanitarium workers, business and community people, and members from surrounding churches. Ellen White described the hospital structure:

It has four stories, but there is no staircase in the building, the different floors being reached [by covered ramps] from the outside. Each room is so arranged that a bed can be rolled from it through the open window onto a spacious veranda, without the patient in the bed being at all disturbed.—Letter 350, 1907.

The surgery unit was on the top floor.

Seating for the guests was provided on the wide porches and the hillside. The program was conducted from a stand near the building. The program included singing and band music, speeches, and the dedicatory prayer. Ellen White was allotted twenty minutes for the dedicatory address. Not accustomed to being restricted in time, she wondered how she could include what she felt she should say in the time allowed.

She held to the time, speaking slowly and distinctly on the topic “Why We Have Sanitariums.”


Basing her remarks on texts in Revelation 22, and beginning with verses one and two with their “pure river of water of life” and the “tree of life,” she declared:

The great reason why we have sanitariums is that these institutions may be agencies in bringing men and women to a position where they may be numbered among those who shall someday eat of the leaves of the tree of life, which are for the healing of the nations....

Our sanitariums are established as institutions where patients and helpers may serve God. We desire to encourage as many as possible to act their part individually in living healthfully....  


Our sanitariums are to be centers of education. Those who come to them are to be given an opportunity to learn how to overcome disease, and how to preserve the health. They may learn how to use the simple agencies that God has provided for their recovery, and become more intelligent in regard to the laws of life.—Manuscript 115, 1907.

As she closed her remarks, she stated that this was her first opportunity of seeing the new building and that she was “pleased with it, very much pleased with it.”


6BIO 140-142