Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Chang and Eng

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CHANG and ENG, Siamese twins, b. in Bangaseau, Siam, 15 April, 1811; d. near Mount Airy, N. C., 17 Jan., 1874. Their father was Chinese and their mother Chino-Siamese. They came to the United States in 1829, and were exhibited here and in Europe for nearly twenty-five years. Having accumulated a fortune of about $80,000, they settled as farmers in North Carolina, and at the age of forty-four or forty-five married two sisters, by whom they had children (Chang six and Eng five), of whom eight, with the two widows, survived them. Two of the children were deaf and dumb; the rest had no malformation or infirmity. They lost a part of their property, which consisted partially of slaves, by the war, and were very bitter in their denunciation of the government in consequence. After the war they again resorted to public exhibitions, but were not very successful. Their lives were embittered by their own quarrels and the bickering of their wives; and they returned home, with their tempers much soured and their spirits depressed, after a decision by the most eminent European surgeons that the severing of the band (which both desired) would prove fatal. Notwithstanding this, they always maintained a high character for integrity and fair dealing, and were much esteemed by their neighbors. In 1870 Chang had a paralytic stroke, and was subsequently weak and ill, while Eng's health was much improved. Chang died first, probably of cerebral clot, during the night; and when Eng awoke and found his brother dead, his fright and the consequent nervous shock, acting upon an enfeebled heart, produced a syncope, which resulted fatally two hours and a half after Chang's death. Their bodies were taken to Philadelphia and carefully examined by eminent physicians. The connection of the two was by a fleshy and partly cartilaginous band extending from the xiphoid region of the sternum down to a point below the umbilicus of each. There had been but a single umbilical cord attached to the middle of the under side of this band, and while the band (which was eight or nine inches in length, about eight in circumference, and two and a half in diameter — its upper or outer surface being convex, and the under or inner concave) was cartilaginous and nearly insensible except at its median point, there was evidently some inter-communication through it to the viscera of both. The breast-bones were so nearly joined that they were naturally face to face, and could never have occupied the position of back to back. It was then found that there were no direct blood-vessels or nerves connecting either the circulation of the blood or the nervous fluid through both bodies, but that the peritoneum or membrane covering the bowels was extended in two pouches from the abdomen of Chang passing through the band into the abdomen of Eng, and that one similar pouch from the peritonæum of Eng passed through the band lying between the two from Chang, into the abdomen of Chang. These pouches contained small blood-vessels coming from the livers of each (which were in both close to the cord), and these blood-vessels were covered with a thin layer of genuine liver-tissue. A separation or division of the cord would therefore have been almost certainly fatal to both. The twins differed considerably in size and strength as well as in disposition, Chang being considerably the larger and stronger, but also the more irritable and intemperate.