Abel Perminter Lynch was a traveling man. He was born in Rutherford County, North Carolina in 1859, but didn't stay long. By the 1890s, he was a sewing machine salesman, and his territory extended west into eastern Tennessee.
His arrival was a big event for all the little girls in the neighborhood. To demonstrate his machines, Abel would sew doll's dresses, which the girls could keep. One day, he stopped at a farm near Dandridge, Tennessee and complimented the farmer on the beauty of his wife. "If there was another as lovely as she is, I might just settle down myself," he said.
"Well, sir, you're in luck!" the farmer answered. "If you go down the road a bit, there are seven more just like her still at home, and you can take your pick!"
So he made sure to visit that farm, and as luck would have it, fell in love with his "Jessie Lee from Tennessee." They were married on 15 February, 1893.
Abel Perminter Lynch and his wife Jessie Lee decided to become innkeepers. They would buy old hotels, improve them to the point of profitability, and then sell them and start over again somewhere new.
In 1919, Abel was sixty and Jessie was 45. They began to think it was time they retired to the good life down in Florida. They dreamed of relaxing by the beach -- perhaps buying a small orange grove.
But then Jessie became ill. The doctors suspected a gallbladder attack and operated on her. During the operation they discovered she was pregnant, so they quickly sewed her back up and broke the news to Abel.
Now in 1919, pregnancy at age 45 was practically a death sentence, so they scrapped their Florida plans and moved in with Jessie's family in Dandridge, Tennessee. Jessie made a burial gown for the baby and waited for the end.
To everyone's surprise, not only did they all survive, but "the baby" was actually identical twin girls: Kathleen and Eileen.
Their older brother, Julius, named them, saying they must have Irish names because (perhaps a tiny bit of angst here?) "who's ever heard of an Irishman named 'Julius'.... "
Years later, Eileen wanted to be on the "What's My Line" TV show. Her line was that she was the middle child: Her brother was 25 years older, and her sister was 25 minutes younger!
Over the years, the twins did everything together -- including having children at the same time. I found this on the Library of Congress website, with the following caption:
"Twins become mothers together for second time in less than two years. Washington, D.C., April 7. Accustomed to doing practically the same things all their lives, these Washington twins, now mothers, have apparently decided that having their children together would certainly be in order. The mothers, Mrs. Eileen Moon, left, and Mrs. Kathleen Robie, last week gave birth to daughters to set a new record at Columbia Maternity Hospital. Mrs. Moon's youngster, whom she named Carol, was born on March 29, while Mrs. Robie's new daughter Nancy Lee first saw the light of day on April 1. This same thing happened in July 1937 when Mrs. Robie gave birth to a girl and a few hours later Mrs. Moon's baby, a boy, arrived."