1849, Albion men leave for California
In 1849 when my father, George E. Warner, was a small boy of 7 years, he remembers seeing a party of men start from Albion for California. Among the number were his father, William A. Warner, and three of his uncles, Robert Finch, Alonzo Colby, William Pearl, and Frank Clay, all from Albion and vicinity.
They took two yoke of oxen and a covered wagon, which Robert Finch drove to Kalamazoo where he was joined by the rest of the party who made the trip by train. Kalamazoo at that time was the western terminal of the railroad. They loaded up at this point and continued their journey, being joined by other parties along the way.
At Salt Lake City, they exchanged their oxen for horses which they used the rest of the trip. The party was on the trail six months, starting in April and reaching San Francisco in October.
Alonzo Colby died in California but the others returned to Albion, January, 1851, by way of the Isthmus of Panama.
Source: Inez Warner Butler in Krenerick, Miriam. Milestones and Memories. 1934.