Ingham was the great-nephew of the evangelist but the life of Benjamin Ingham was more remarkable for worldly success than that of his religious great-uncle and namesake who had died before he was born. In 1806, at the height of the Napoleonic wars between Britain and France, Ingham moved to Sicily as a representative of the Leeds-based family firm of Ingham Brothers & Co. after being jilted by the mercenary Anne Brook, probably because he lost all his money in a failed business deal.
In Sicily, he soon branched out in his own right to become one of the richest and most powerful men on the island. By today's values, he was a millionaire many times over. Ingham built a huge business dynasty in Sicily with massive investments in the USA, all with the help of five of his Ingham and Whitaker nephews, three of whom died whilst working for him, one by committing suicide. He tamed the Sicilian Mafia, became a Sicilian Baron and moved in the highest circles of Sicilian society, commanding considerable respect by loaning money to some of the nobility. He learned to speak fluent Italian with a marked Sicilian accent, tinged with a touch of Yorkshire. His story is one of failed romances, family tragedy, business success by sheer ruthlessness and eventually, a putative marriage to a highly-sexed Italian Duchess, Alessandra Spadafora, Duchess di Santa Rosalia who was nearly six years his senior, but whom he plainly adored. Ingham's delightful house in Palermo, Palazzo Ingham, became the city's Grand Hotel et Des Palmes in 1874, and his hugely successful Marsala wine business was eventually nationalised by Mussolini in 1927 and is now owned by the Cinzano Company.
Ingham made his fortune in Sicily, but invested heavily in the rapidly expanding 19th century economy of the USA. In 1861, when he died, Benjamin Ingham left a substantial fortune valued even then at £12,000,000. By 2006, that would be the equivalent to well over £1 billion or possibly even more,
Specifically: Died in Palermo
Created by: David Martin
Record added: Apr 25, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 109341635
But this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit God's kingdom, nor does corruption inherit incorruptibility. 1 Corinthians 15|
Added: Apr. 25, 2013