When John Horner founded the original Union City in 1851 near what is now the corner of Horner and Veasy streets, he named the town after the steamship that he owned, the "Union". His town was built around the landing that he built and where the "Union" was berthed.
The "Union" was built in New Jersey. Charles Minturn had it dismantled, shipped around South America, and rebuilt in the Bay Area. In 1849, it was running up the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers from San Francisco. John Horner purchased it to carry the produce from his large farm lands to the markets in San Francisco.
The ship had a number of captains during its years in service, including Capt. Trefrey, Capt. James Marston, Capt. T. W. Seely, and Capt. Charles Thorn.
The "Union" traveled to San Francisco, stayed overnight, and returned to Union City the next day. While in San Francisco, the ship was berthed in a basin between Pacific and Broadway wharves. Horner and Company had an office at the corner of Front and Broadway streets. The "Union" left San Francisco for Union City on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. It left Union City on the other days (Monday, Weds., and Friday) and did not travel on Sunday. The cost of the trip from San Francisco to Union City was $5. Horner also had a stage that ran to Mission San Jose, costing an additional dollar.
In May of 1853, the "Union" was just leaving the mouth of Alameda Creek on a run to San Francisco when it came upon a disabled ship, the "Jenny Lind." The "Jenny Lind" was traveling from Alviso to San Francisco when its boiler exploded, killing 18 passengers and scaling another 40 of the 130 on board. Capt. James Marsten of the "Union" transferred the survivors and the remains of the victims to his ship and continued on to San Francisco, where the wounded were treated for their injuries.