"Carolina Twins." Millie & Crissie. CDV studio portrait of Millie and Christine McKoy/McCoy (1851-1912). Edward B. Rogers: Hamilton, [Ohio], n.d., circa 1866. Rogers' Jackson Building imprint on verso; 1866 Maryland copyright statement on verso. A scarce early view of the women when they were only about 14 years old. They are wearing fashionable dresses with coordinating tiaras. One holds a small bouquet and the other a book or picture album.
Born into enslavement on a plantation in southeastern North Carolina, they were sold several times while children and abducted twice, by people looking to exploit them. Eventually, they came to be enslaved by Joseph Smith who toured the sisters through the United States, Canada, and Europe. They were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation and continued to tour internationally. The talented singers were successful enough to purchase the property where they were born and build a grand home where they lived until their death. In early October 1912, Millie died after contracting tuberculosis. Christine was unable to be safely separated and died the next day. Though they had separate personalities, they were often referred to with one name, "Millie-Christine" and are themselves quoted as saying, "Although we speak of ourselves in the plural, we feel as but one person."
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