Chang and Eng were conjoined twins born in 1811 in the fishing village of Meklong, Siam (now Thailand). Connected at the chest by only a narrow band of flesh, the twins led a long and relatively “normal” life. In 1829, they left Siam and began touring the United States, Europe, Canada, and the Caribbean giving demonstrations and lectures. Along with Tom Thumb, Chang and Eng were one of P. T. Barnum's most popular “curiosities.” Through their exhibitions, which usually billed the brothers as the “United Siamese Twins,” Chang and Eng became so well known that the term “Siamese twins” was universally employed to describe all conjoined twins.
Despite their celebrity and financial success, Chang and Eng stopped touring and settled in rural Wilkes County, North Carolina, in the late 1830s. There they purchased a farm, livestock, and slaves, and married sisters Adelaide and Sarah Yates in 1843. Except for a few brief tours, the twins stayed in North Carolina the remainder of their lives, moving to Surry County in 1846.
Between them, Chang and Eng fathered 21 children. The twins died on January 17, 1874, at age 63, and were buried in the White Plains Baptist Church cemetery.
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