Welches Creek African American Siamese Twins
The First African American Siamese Twins of Columbus County
Millie and Christine McKoy, also known as Mille-Christine, were born into slavery in Welches Creek, North Carolina. They were born July 11, 1851 and were conjoined at the spine and share the same nervous system. They were taken from their mother and sold for $30,000 to Mr. J.P. Smith where they began their life of side shows with the P.T. Barnum Circus. They traveled internationally and spoke French, English, and Russian, to name a few. J.P. Smith sold them to another showman, who moved them North, then to another showman where they finally ended in England. Their show career ended in 1900. The girls died in 1912 and lived 61 years.
By 1900, Millie-Christine retired from show business and moved into a house with their parents and their fourteen brothers and sisters. On October 12, 1912, just a week after their sixty-first birthday, Millie died of tuberculosis. Christine died seventeen hours later. On their tombstone was inscribed the words: "A soul with two thoughts. Two hearts that beat as one."
Mütter Museum, Philadelphia
125 YEARS AGO
From the Evening News, November 24, 1871
THIS afternoon, at the Temperance Hall, there was an entertainment of a very novel character, and since the days of the Siamese twins it has been unequalled in Bolton. The objects of attraction were Millie Christine, or the Two Headed Nightingale as she is called, and Capt. and Mrs Bates, who are 'children of larger growth' than their brethren of the human race. In speaking of Millie Christine, one is almost in doubt how to describe her, whether as one or two persons, from the peculiarity of the formation. The young lady is now 20-years-old, and comparatively stout in stature, and on the mother's side is of negro descent. The wonderful thing is that she possesses two heads on one body, with two well developed chests and four arms. This portion of the form is perfectly distinct in each figure; but at the lateral portion of the pelvis there is but one body, with one spine, the lower parts of which gradually incline outwards from each side and terminate with four legs. The heads possess two distinct voices, one a contralto and one a soprano, and sing some duets in a very pleasing manner.
Copyright 2000, All Rights Reserved.
Brown and Mear(e)s of Bladen and Columbus County