Quadruplets may occur about once in every half-million births.

July, 2008  
In January of this year quadruplets were born in Jamaica, and they and their mother have been doing very well.
The birth of quads is certainly unusual, but may not be quite as unusual as might be thought, even in Jamaica! I already had a reference to an earlier birth of quads in Jamaica, and also to two sets of Siamese or conjoined twins born here, so I thought I could put them together with other such references on a small site -  so here it is!
Joy Lumsden   
our.history (at) jamaica.la  

Quadruplets, and Quintuplets even!

A Scottish doctor, Jonathon Troup, reported the birth of quadruplets to a slave woman in Dominica in 1789, but the earliest reference I have found so far to quadruplets born in Jamaica was in 1898, though there may well have been more than one such birth in earlier times which was either never recorded, or has a record not yet discovered. It seems that until fairly recently the odds against quads or quins surviving were almost overwhelming. As we shall see triplets clearly had a much better survival rate, even a century or more ago.

Daily Gleaner, December 5, 1898

During the latter part of last month a married woman named Rebecca Reid, living in the

Ulster Spring district of this parish, gave birth to four male children - three of which were

delivered dead, and the fourth born alive, but died also after a few days. Dr. W. E. Wilson

attended her and she is now, although weak, recovering

Amazingly the next reference to a significant multiple birth is the report of the birth of quintuplets in St Mary, in 1922. The reference to  'unusual alarm' perhaps indicates the presence of the fear which has existed in many societies that such extraordinary births were warnings of evil events to come. It does seem a little surprising though, that these births have apparently left no record, even in popular memory.

Daily Gleaner, September 8, 1922


Mrs Charles Green living in one of the adjoining districts of Richmond gave birth to five

children at one time. Such a case as this has never been heard of before, by even the

oldest residents here, and it has created unusual alarm. All of the babies have since died

as their undeveloped limbs and deformed bodies could not really support life. The mother

has since been doing well.

Over the next two decades there were three further reports of the births of quadruplets, the final report in 1944 indicating, encouragingly, that the babies had all survived. Then it seems there were no more quads in Jamaica until this year!

Daily Gleaner, December 18, 1929


(By Telegraph from Our Portsea Correspondent).

SOUTHFIELD, Dec. 17. - Last night a woman. Isabel Rowe of the Red Bank district, gave birth to four children two boys and two girls. The babies are all dead, but the mother is

doing well.

Daily Gleaner, November 23, 1937

The "Northern News" (Montego Bay) of November 20 says:- "History was made in St. James on Sunday last when a woman gave birth to four children. A woman by the

name of May Scott in the Marley Land district was the mother and she died after

giving birth to the second. The third was taken from her and the fourth died. The woman

was buried on Monday."

Daily Gleaner, November 3, 1944


PORT MARIA. NOV. 2 - (By telegraph from our correspondent)

Leonora Rodney of Fellowship Hall gave birth to four babies yesterday morning at the Port Maria Hospital. They are three boys and a girl - the largest weighing four pounds, and

smallest three and a quarter pounds. The mother and children are well. Dr G V Harry

delivered the babies

Daily Gleaner, November 4, 1944

Advices from the Port Maria Hospital late yesterday state that the quadruplets  three boys and one girl born to Leonora Rodney on November 1, are doing well. One of the boys had

to undergo a slight surgical operation, but his condition is satisfactory. 

 It is interesting that as recently as 2005 the birth of quads in 1944 was noted on Hartley Neita's 'This day in our past' in the Daily Gleaner. If these quads really did do as well as the original news item indicated, then some or all of the four may still be alive; I wonder if that could be so!
I did find one later reference to quadruplets, but since I have been unable to find any supporting references, I am not sure quite how to take this birth notice on September 30, 1960:
 If anyone can give any further information, I would be grateful for it.
You may be interested in checking out this web site: Facts About Multiples 

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