On July 11, 1851 two baby girls were born to slaves Monemia and Jacob McCoy. Well, some considered them two baby girls. You see, these two babies were joined; connected to each other at the base of the spine, where they had remained fused in the womb. They shared two upper bodies, four legs, and one pelvis. Twins joined in this manner are known as pyopagus twins. Other than being joined, the two girls were normally shaped, and grew to be quite attractive. As toddlers they had problems learning to walk in sync with each other, but eventually developed a graceful sideways walk, and even danced in their later stage shows.
The parents feared for their girls and tried to stem the flow of curious onlookers who came to the farm to see the "strange curiosity". Indeed, the public interest in the two girls caused the parents' owner to sell the entire family for $200. The girls were soon resold for $1000, then again for $30,000 to showman J.P. Smith. One of Smith's rivals stole the twins and traveled the United States for two years offering discrete, private showings. Smith pursued the kidnapper, eventually recovering the girls in England. He reunited them with their mother upon returning to the United States. The girls were then four years old. J.P. Smith's wife educated the two girls, and the two eventually spoke five languages. Millie and Christine continued in show business, singing songs written especially for them. They were billed as "The Two-Headed Nightingale" and became quite successful,traveling the world with P.T. Barnum's show. They retired very comfortably at age 49. The sisters bought the plantation on which they had been born slaves and turned it over to their father, providing homes and livelihoods for at least nine siblings. Later, they founded a school for black children and supported a number of colleges -- always anonymously.
The twins never considered themselves two separate persons. They called themselves "Lady" and felt as if they were one person spiritually, emotionally, and sexually. They were very accepting of their reality and their motto was "As God decreed, we agreed.".
In 1912 Millie, always the weaker twin, contracted tuberculosis and died. Christine died 17 hours later.
On their tombstone was inscribed the words: "A soul with two thoughts. Two hearts that beat as one."
A book was written about the twins. It is "Millie-Christine: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made" by John F. Blair. I just ordered it.