Siamese Twins, Eng and Chang
Historical Marker stands near the Graves of Siamese Twins, Eng and Chang Bunker
N 36° 27.173 W 080° 37.751
The most famous set of conjoined twins were Chang and Eng, the men who originated the term "Siamese Twins". Eng and Chang were born in Siam (modern day Thailand) on May 11, 1811
In 1829 Hunter and his associate Captain Abel Coffin offered money to the boys' mother for permission to take them abroad, then tried again with the government; this time they succeeded. In April 17 year-olds Chang and Eng left for Boston, excited to see the world.
After a successful and profitable tour of the States, the group then sailed to England where they became quite popular. They were extensively examined by doctors and visited by royalty.
In 1832 Chang and Eng broke off their arrangement with Captain Coffin (Mr. Hunter having sold his share of the rights to Coffin while they were in Europe) when they realized that he was taking the vast majority of the money received for their tours. This break led them to P. T. Barnum, with whom they toured until 1839, when they decided to quit the exhibition life and settle down.
They chose Wilkesboro, North Carolina where they began the life of farmers. In 1839 they became United States citizens, but lacking last names they were simply listed as "Chang and Eng, Siamese Twins." In 1844 they decided to remedy that by petitioning to adopt the name Bunker, although it is not known for sure where this came from.
Chang and Eng began to date Adelaide and Sarah Ann Yates, two of nine daughters of local farmer and part-time clergyman, David Yates. The townspeople disapproved, so Chang and Eng scheduled a separation surgery in Philadelphia. Their fiancées found out and quickly stopped the proceeding, and in April 1843, Chang was married to Adelaide and Eng to Sarah Ann in a double wedding
During the course of their marriages, Eng fathered six boys and five girls; Chang seven girls and three boys. All were normal except for a son and daughter of Chang's who were deaf mutes.
In January 1874, Chang Bunker died after a severe case of bronchitis, possibly from a cerebral clot. Eng died shortly thereafter. They are buried in the White Plains Baptist Church Cemetery near Mount Airy, North Carolina.
This historical marker stands on Old Route 601 in front of the White Plains Baptist Church near Mount Airy, North Carolina.
The text of the marker reads:
SIAMESE TWINS M-7
"Eng and Chang, the Siamese Twins born in 1811, in Siam Settled as farmers in this neighborhood. Died 1874. Grave 100 yards west."
This page was last updated October 17, 2010.
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