CHANG AND ENG BUNKER Biography - Famous Medicine & health care related men and women


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Chang Bunker and Eng Bunker (May 11, 1811-January 17, 1874) were the conjoined         
twin brothers whose condition and birthplace became the basis for the term "Siamese     
The Bunker brothers were born on May 11, 1811 in Siam (now Thailand), in the           
province of Samutsongkram, to a Chinese fisherman and a half-Chinese/half-Malay         
mother (Nok). They were joined at the sternum by a small piece of cartilage.           
Their livers were fused but independently complete. Although 19th century               
medicine did not have the means to do so, modern surgical techniques would have         
easily allowed them to be separated today. In 1829, they were discovered in Siam       
by British merchant Robert Hunter and exhibited as a curiosity during a world           
tour. Upon termination of their contract with their discoverer, they                   
successfully went into business for themselves. In 1839, while visiting                 
Wilkesboro, North Carolina with P.T. Barnum, the twins were attracted to the           
town and settled there, becoming naturalized United States citizens.                   
Determined to start living a normal life as much as possible, the brothers             
settled on a plantation, bought slaves, and adopted the name "Bunker". They were       
accepted as respected members of the community. On April 13, 1843, they married         
two sisters: Chang to Adelaide Yates and Eng to Sarah Anne Yates. Chang and his         
wife had ten children; Eng and his wife had twelve. In time, the wives squabbled       
and eventually two separate households were set up just west of Mount Airy,             
North Carolina in the community of White Plains the twins would alternate               
spending three days at each home. During the American Civil War Chang's son             
Christopher and Eng's son Stephen both fought for the Confederacy. Many of their       
descendants still live in the Mount Airy area. The twins died on the same day in       
1874. Chang, who had been in declining health for several years, died first; Eng       
died several hours later.