Chang and Eng Bunker
Chang (Chinese: 昌; pinyin: Chāng; Thai: จัน, Jan, RTGS: Chan) and Eng (Chinese: 恩; pinyin: Ēn; Thai: อิน In) Bunker (May 11, 1811 – January 17, 1874) were conjoined twin brothers whose condition and birthplace became the basis for the term "Siamese twins".
The Bunker brothers were born on May 11, 1811, in Siam (now Thailand), in the province of Samutsongkram, to a fisherman and his wife (Nok or [Nak]; Thai: นาก). Because of their Chinese heritage (as they were born from a Thai Chinese father and a Chinese-Malay mother), they were known as the "Chinese Twins" in Siam. 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 allowed them to be separated.
In 1829, British merchant Robert Hunter "discovered" them and paid their family to let them be exhibited as a curiosity during a world tour. Upon termination of their contract with Hunter, the brothers successfully went into business for themselves. In 1839, while visiting Wilkesboro, North Carolina, the twins were attracted to the area and settled on a 110-acre (0.45 km2) farm in nearby Traphill, 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". On April 13, 1843, they married two sisters: Chang to Adelaide Yates and Eng to Sarah Anne Yates.
Their Traphill home is where they shared a bed built for four. Chang and his wife had 10 children; Eng and his wife had 11. 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. Chang and Eng lost part of their property as a result of 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. They always maintained a high character for integrity and fair dealing, and were much esteemed by their neighbors. The twins died on the same day in January 1874. Chang, who had contracted pneumonia, died rather suddenly in his sleep. According to the Travel Channel's "Mysteries at the Museum", Chang suffered a stroke the night that he died. Eng awoke to find his brother dead, and called for his wife and children to attend to him. A doctor was summoned to perform an emergency separation, but he was too late. Eng died three hours later.
Eng's widow died on April 29, 1892, and Chang's widow died on May 21, 1917.
The fused liver of the Bunker brothers was preserved and is currently on display at the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Numerous artifacts of the twins, including some of their personal artifacts and their travel ledger, are displayed in the North Carolina Collection Gallery in Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; this includes the original watercolor portrait of Chang and Eng from 1836.
Mark Twain wrote a short story, The Siamese Twins, based on the Bunkers. In 1996, BBC Radio 4 broadcast a 90-minute radio play called United States about the lives and deaths of Chang and Eng Bunker. The writer was Tony Coult and the director was Andy Jordan. Transmission was on June 17, with a cast that included Bert Kwouk and Ozzie Yue as the twins. A Singapore musical based on the life of the twins, Chang & Eng, was directed by Ekachai Uekrongtham and written by Ming Wong, with music by Ken Low. Chang & Eng premiered in 1997 and has since been performed around Asia, starring Robin Goh as Chang Bunker, Sing Seng Kwang as Eng Bunker, and Selena Tan as their mother, Nok. Subsequent productions starred Edmund Toh as Chang Bunker and RJ Rosales as Eng Bunker. The best-selling and multiple-award-winning 2000 novel Chang and Eng by Darin Strauss was based on the life of the famous Bunker twins. The film rights to the novel were purchased by award-winning filmmaking team Gary Oldman and Douglas Urbanski. Oldman is currently working on the screenplay and will also direct.
I Dream of Chang and Eng, a play by noted Bay Area playwright Philip Kan Gotanda that is based on the lives of the Bunker Twins, was produced in workshop form at UC Berkeley and was produced on their main stage in the spring of 2011.
Chang and Eng Bunker fathered a total of 21 children, and their descendants - including several sets of non-conjoined twins - now number more than 1,500. Many of their descendants continue to reside in the vicinity of Mt. Airy and descendants of both brothers continue to hold joint reunions. Two hundred descendants reunited in Mount Airy in July 2011 for the two-hundredth birthday of the twins, which was the twenty-second annual reunion.
Prominent descendants include United States Air Force Major General Caleb V. Haynes who was a grandson of Chang Bunker through his daughter Margaret Elizabeth "Lizzie" Bunker. General Haynes's son, Vance Haynes, earned a doctorate in geosciences, performed foundational fieldwork at Sandia Cave to determine the timeline of human migration through North America, and served as professor at several universities. Alex Sink, former Chief Financial Officer of Florida, is a great-granddaughter of Chang Bunker, and was the Democratic nominee in the 2010 Florida gubernatorial election.
- Savannah Mason (January 1, 2001). "Chang and Eng Bunker". Entertainers. Find a Grave. Retrieved August 18, 2011.
- "Conjoined Twins". University of Maryland Medical Center. January 8, 2010. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
- "Chang and Eng, the Siamese Twins". Calisota Online. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
- "Eng and Chang Bunker". Retrieved May 28, 2012.
- Young, Stephen B. (2003). "Book Review: Two Yankee Diplomats In 1830's Siam by Edmund Roberts and W. S. W. Ruschenberger; edited with an introduction by Michael Smithies and published by Orchid Press". Journal of the Siam Society 91. Retrieved March 2, 2012. "Ruschenberger reports that the two Siamese Twins — Sam and Eng — were widely known in Bangkok after their departure for the United States, but significantly for their failure to send home remittances to their mother."
- UNC Univ. Libraries, Southern Historical Collection no. 03761
- Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1900). "Chang and Eng". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton This source confirms the wives' dispute, but disagrees on the number of children and says nothing about the household arrangements.
- Twain, Mark. "The Siamese Twins". The Siamese Twins, Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library. Retrieved July 2, 2008.
- Whirling upstream in Hollywood: Douglas Urbanski
- "Philip Kan Gotanda's I Dream of Chang and Eng". San Francisco Chronicle. March 3, 2011.
- "Siamese twins descendants hold 22nd annual reunion". Mount Airy News. July 31, 2011.
- "Twins' great-granddaughter seeks a different kind of fame". St. Petersburg Times. June 11, 2006.
- Wood, Deborah Shelton (March 25, 2009). "Union Pacific RR President, George F Ashby". Surry - Family History & Genealogy Message Board. Ancestry.com. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
- Klein, Maury (2006) . Union Pacific: Volume II, 1894-1969. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. p. 437. ISBN 0816644608. OCLC 276175222.
- Chang, Iris (2003). The Chinese in America: A Narrative History. Viking. pp. 27–28, 81. ISBN 0-670-03123-2.
- Adapted from the Internet Encyclopedia article, "Chang and Eng Bunker" www.internet-encyclopedia.org – Chang and Eng Bunker 8 July, 2003
- Wallace, Amy; Wallace, Irving (1978). The Two: The Story of the Original Siamese Twins. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-22627-4.
- Collins, David R. (1994). Eng & Chang: The Original Siamese Twins. Silver Burdett Press. ISBN 0-382-24719-1. Hardcover ISBN 0-87518-602-5.
- Strauss, Darin (2000). Chang and Eng: A Novel. Dutton. ISBN 0-452-28109-1. Hardcover ISBN 0-525-94512-1.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chang and Eng Bunker.|
- Eng and Chang Bunker Digital Project at UNC-Chapel Hill
- Watercolor of the twins and short biography
- Papers of the twins in the archives of the University of North Carolina
- Biography from Wilkesboro.com
- A Hyphenated Life – detailed story in Blue Ridge Country Magazine
- Together Forever – National Geographic Magazine