The first baby is triplets.

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Pittsburgh Courier, 15 January 1938.

Though this appears to be a heart-warming story — in the wee hours of New Year’s Day, a community erupting in celebration over the birth of bouncing triplets — a bit of fact-checking quickly establishes a tragedy of which the reporter should have been aware.

Tommie and Rosa Bynum Hagans‘ babies — two girls and one boy, in fact — were born prematurely, and the first girl died ten minutes after birth. Her sister succumbed five minutes later. Their brother battled bravely, but passed away on the 3rd, ten days after the date-line and 12 days before the Courier picked up the story. Surely there had been no great neighborhood celebration at the Hagans’ home.

Two years later, Tommie Hagans himself was dead. Per his death certificate, he died 12 February 1940 in Wilson; was married to Rosa Hagans; resided at 509 South Spring Street; worked as a common laborer; and had been born in Wilson County to James and Hannah Bynum Hagans. Joseph Hagans was informant, and C.E. Artis was undertaker.

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