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.
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.
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.
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.
A quick Google search suggests that the quads may be Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John Hughes. This genealogy website lists their birthdate as 1868 and the town as Barnwell, which is 14 miles from Denmark, SC (formerly known as Graham’s Turn-Out)
Katie: thanks so much for that link. So they had twenty-three children. More about the quads (sad, but not surprising):
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.