James Brown Winston
James Brown Winston (1820–1884) was the first medical officer of the City of Los Angeles, California, in the 19th century. He also was a member of both the Los Angeles Common Council, the city's governing body, and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
He was married around 1861 to Margarita Victoria Josefa Maria Luisa Bandini, daughter of California pioneer Juan Lorenzo Bruno Bandini and his second wife, Maria del Refugio Francisco Lugarda Arguello. Their children included John Bandini Winston, Carrie Winston, Mrs. E.M. Flowers, Mrs. Claude Ogden, Mrs. Lionel Ogden and Mrs. Albert Castle.
Winston died September 9, 1884, at the age of sixty-four.
Winston practiced medicine for ten years in Virginia and later in Kentucky. He was also a surgeon in the Army. In 1849 he moved to Los Angeles and, with partner Alpheus P. Hodges, bought and managed the Bella Union Hotel, to which they made extensive improvements, adding a second story and a balcony.
So many deaths were reported that the municipal authorities discontinued the tolling of the bells. Undertakers were fearful of touching the ravaged bodies. ... At least 500 persons were stricken during the first few week, and deaths in the pueblo for a time ran as high as 15 and 20 a day. ... At the Bella Union Hotel, always the hub of the town's activity, a funereal gloom was everywhere, and innkeeper Doctor Winston, now overworked in his capacity as town physician, kept the hotel running. His only thought was to save the living and to rid the town of the dead as quickly as possible.
Winston served in the Los Angeles Common Council, the governing body of the city, in 1861–62 and 1863–64, and he was a member of the city Board of Health in 1862–63. He was elected to the county Board of Supervisors in 1868 and served through 1871.
Winston also became a prominent figure in civic affairs and was a member of a voluntary vigilance committee known as the Rangers, which was organized to assist in fighting crime; as well as the party planning committee, which arranged for all the town's dances.
References and notes
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- Los Angeles County biography from the Historical Society of Southern California
- "J.B. Winston, Retired Engineer and Railway Builder, Dies," Los Angeles Times, January 25, 1940, page A-2
-  Possible previous spouses and other children are listed in U.S. census records posted at ancestry.com.
- "Death Takes Noted Woman," Los Angeles Times, September 30, 1910, page II-10
- This detail does not gibe with the 1879–83 dates in the paragraph just above.
- "Los Angeles in the Traumatic '60s," Los Angeles Times, September 25, 1966, page W-8
- Location of Winston Street on Mapping L.A.
-  Photo from the early 1870s of the Bella Union Hotel when James Brown Winston and his wife, Margarita Bandini Winston, owned it.