American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques

Surgical Set collection from 1860 to 1865 - Civilian and Military

Civil War:  Medicine, Surgeon Education & Medical Textbooks

 Dr. Michael Echols  &  Dr. Doug Arbittier


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George Hewston, M.D.

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GEORGE HEWSTON, M. D., whose office is at No. 1132 Sutter street, San Francisco, has been a resident of California since 1861, and has been engaged in practice of medicine since 1850.  He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1826, and his early education was received in the private schools of that city until his fourteenth year, when he was admitted to the high school of Philadelphia, being the youngest pupil who had ever at that time been admitted.  He graduated at that institution in 1845, after a four years’ classical coarse, receiving his degree as Bachelor of Arts.  In 1845 the faculty of that high school, by virtue of authority vested therein, by act of the Legislature of Pennsylvania, conferred on Dr. Hewson the degree of Master of Arts. 


In 1845 he commenced the study of medicine, under the preceptorship of Dr. James McClintock of Philadelphia, with whom he studied for five years.  In 1847 he entered the Philadelphia College of Medicine, where he was graduated in 1850, after a full three years’ course, receiving his degree as Doctor of Medicine.  After his election Mr. Hewston was immediately elected Prosector of Surgery and Demonstrator of anatomy of that college.  In 1853 he was elected to the Chair of Anatomy, which he held until 1858.  In 1851 he commenced his private practice, continuing until coming to California in 1861.  During a number of those years Dr. Hewston occupied the Chair of Anatomy and Physiology in the Wagner Free Institution of Science in Philadelphia.  In 1860 he received, after having completed the course of study required, a further degree of Doctor of Medicine from the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania.


Dr. Hewston has been from 1851 to 1860, one of the surgeons of the Philadelphia Fire Department, and before coming to California in 1861 dressed the wounds of members of the Sixth Massachusetts Infantry Regimental Band, who was wounded while passing through Baltimore on their way to Washington in the first hand-to-hand skirmish of the war, (not to be confused with skirmish at Fort Sumter a week before), which was the "Pratt Street" or "Baltimore" Riot.  (Some of the militia walked back to Philadelphia and apparently it was some of the band members among this group who were treated by Dr. Hewston in Philadelphia.)  

(Reference: Http://


The Doctor came with his family to this State in 1861, where he has since resided and practiced medicine in San Francisco.  During a portion of that time he has occupied the Chair of Theory and Practice of Medicine at the University of California.  He was for seven years Surgeon on the staff of Major General Allen, commanding the State Militia from 1863 to 1870.  In 1873 Dr. Hewston was elected one of the Board of Supervisors, and in 1875 was elected by the board as Mayor of the city, to fill the unexpired term of James Otis.  He was appointed by the United States Government in 1875 as a member from the Pacific coast of the Assay Commission, a medal commemorating his services having been presented to him by the Government in that year.  In 1876 he was appointed by the commissioners of the Centennial Exposition as one of the Board of Judges for the International Centennial Commission of 1876.  Of this board Dr. Hewston was elected chairman of Group No. 18.  In recognition of his services rendered the administration of the International Exhibition of 1876, he was awarded a special bronze medal by the commission.  Dr. Hewston was one of the reorganizers in 1870 of the California State Medical Society, of which he was elected Corresponding Secretary, which position he resigned after holding it one year.  He is also a member of the American Medical Association.


Dr. Hewston is of English and Scotch, descent, his father and mother both having been natives of the North of Ireland, of English and Scotch parentage.  His father, John Hewston, was a business man of Philadelphia for many years, and died in that city in 1869, at the advanced age of eighty seven years.  Dr. Hewston’s grandmother died in Philadelphia in 1851, at the age of ninety-eight years.  During the storming of Fort McHenry at Baltimore by the British in the war of 1812, Dr. Hewston’s mother, then a young girl, with other ladies of Baltimore, supplied the American troops in the fort with provisions from that city, one of the ladies on an expedition being struck by a shell from one of the British ships and killed instantly.


The Doctor is a fluent speaker, and has delivered many brilliant, scientific and medical public lectures to large and appreciative audiences, both in Philadelphia and San Francisco.


Transcribed by Joyce and David Rugeroni.

Source: “The Bay of San Francisco,” Vol. 2, Pages 372-373, Lewis Publishing Co, 1892

(The personal edited research notes of Michael Echols, the source of which may or may not be completely documented)



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Civil War Medical Collections 


Direct links to all medical & Civil War collections on this site                         

American Surgical Sets:

Pre-Civil War:  1 | 2  -   Post-Civil War:  3  -  Civil War 1861-1865:  4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8   INDEX

Medical Text-Books:

1 | 1a | 2 | 2a | 3 | 3a | 4 | 4a | 5 | 5a | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 9a | 10 | 11 | 12    INDEX

Surgeon General's Office Library printed catalogues: 1840 | 1864 | 1865
Medical Lecture Cards: 1 | 2 | 34 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21    INDEX

Medical Faculty and Authors:


Navy Surgeon Exams:

1863 Navy Surgeon Applicant Exams with Biographies   INDEX ONE | INDEX TWO

Surgeon CDVs, Images:

Army: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8    INDEX

Navy: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8   

Hosp Dep't Bottles, Tins, 

U.S. Army Pannier:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques

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Last update: Monday, December 12, 2016