When Sarah (Sadie) Morlok gave birth to four identical quadruplets at Lansing’s Sparrow Hospital on May 19, 1930, the blessed event was splashed in papers around the world. Everything about them was news-bite size. The quads were named Edna A., Wilma B., Sarah C. and Helen D., for “Edward W. Sparrow Hospital.” The middle initials indicated their birth order.
Under the strange logic by which the public bestows its largesse on a freakishly fertile couple, provided all the births happen at once and the parents are white, a slew of benefactors stepped up to help the family. Mayor Laird Troyer hired the girls’ unemployed father, Carl Morlok, to the vacant office of city constable. A local dairy donated milk. The city leased a home to the parents for a year for free.
When Morlok stood for reelection in 1931, the cute curls of the quads made it a landslide. The proud papa, who was working as a part-time janitor a year earlier, took 37 of 39 precincts. Elections do have consequences. Thousands smiled and said, “Awww.” Morlock would serve as City Constable for 16 years.
The Lansing quadruplets were local celebrities in the 1930s.
For the full article, see Lawrence Cosentino, “The chair, the babies and the mayor’s ties; ‘Lansing Votes’ meanders through six moments in the city’s history”, Lansing City Pulse, January 29, 2014.