Chang and Eng Bunker
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After a decade of financial success, the twins quit touring in 1839 and settled near Mount Airy in rural North Carolina. Integrating into the community, they became U.S. citizens, married local sisters, and bought slaves. They fathered 21 children, several of whom would accompany them once they resumed touring a decade later. The families lived in two separate houses, alternating three-day stays. The twins became well-off businessmen; after the Civil War they lost the part of their wealth in slaves. After they died at the age of 62, an autopsy revealed that their livers were fused in the ligament connecting their sternums.
Many works have fictionalized the Bunkers’ lives or use them to symbolize cooperation or discord, notably by representing the Union and Confederacy during the Civil War. Novelist Darin Strauss wrote, “No definitive history of the twins’ life exists; their conjoined history was a confusion of legend, sideshow hyperbole, and editorial invention even while they lived.