Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Eccentric Moulton Twins

From The History of Hampton, New Hampshire (p. 862) by Joseph Dow, comes the following story about the twin daughters of John Moulton. They were the sisters of my 10th great-grandmother, Mary Moulton. They never married, were inseparable, and died on the same day, March 19, 1698/9.

"The twins, Jane and Bridget, for many years lived in a small house built for them by the roadside, near the site of Mr. Joseph Johnson's barn. Anecdotes illustrative of some peculiarities in their temperament and character have been handed down by tradition. There is also preserved (N.H. Hist. Soc. Col. III:122) a letter of Rev. Cotton Mather, to a gentleman of London, in 1716, wherein he says of them:
'At Hampton, a Town about Fifty miles from this place (Boston), there were Twin sisters, whose names were Bridget and Jane Moulton. The perpetual Harmony and Sympathy between the sisters was the observation of the neighborhood. They were never contented except they were together. If the one were desirous to go abroad, the other would be impatient of staying at home. If the one were merry, the other would be airy. If the one were troubled, the other would be chagrin [ed]. When one was for carding, the other was for spinning. For their Dispositions and Satisfaction there was a strange Agreement betwixt them. The particulars wherein every body with pleasure and wonder saw how they were agreed, and how like your famous Twins of Hippocrates, which you tell us would Fiere et Ridere simul (weep and laugh at the same time), were numberless. They lived a Virgin life, and in this good accord, reached about three-score years. Then Death after a short sickness arrested the one of them. The other grew full of pain, and bid her friends not be in a hurry about her sister's funeral for her's mus accompany it. By dying within a few hours after her sister, she answered their expectations. Mr. John Cotton, the worthy minister of the place, preached a Funeral sermon for this occasion on those words, 2 Samuel 1:23 'In their Death they were not divided.'"

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