Medical mystery: Quadruplets, 1867

I’d call this a writing prompt. This item is from the summer 1867 issue of the Richmond Medical Journal. It’s quite sober in tone for something so sensational: quadruplets, identical (as there was only one placenta), and they were all boys. Five pounds each and healthy at birth.

quadrulets 1867

I had a quick look but couldn’t find any mention of these quadruplets in any of the lists of multiple births online. It might never have come to the attention of the list-makers, I suppose. But it’s odd.

4 Replies to “Medical mystery: Quadruplets, 1867”

  1. That is really strange and very much a writing prompt. I did Ph.D. thesis involving women docs and read loads of material and don’t remember coming across anything like that. Read bits of horrible, terrible birth situations in terrible conditions, but quads– wow.

    1. kristin: Right? It is very odd. I’m going to try to track down the journal where the letter was published. And (I know this will sound odd) do you happen to have a pdf of your thesis I could read? All grist for the mill.

    1. Katie: thanks so much for that link. So they had twenty-three children. More about the quads (sad, but not surprising):

      John Hughes:
      Date born 2: 1868, Barnwell Co, South Carolina, USA.1436, 1437, 1438
      Fact 1: was one of quadruplets he lived about 3 months.
      Fact 2: Mathew, Mark & Luke died shortly after birth.
      Fact 3: Their family packed them in down quilts to try to keep them warm.

      They must have been very small: no incubators in rural South Carolina a couple years after the Civil War. It’s a beautifully done genealogy, excellent notes.

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