What happened to the Flagler fortune?

Answered by Robert Dupre

The Flagler fortune, which was amassed by Henry Flagler through his successful endeavors in the oil and railroad industries, faced an interesting fate after his death. Henry Flagler’s third wife, Mary Lily Kenan Flagler, was the sole beneficiary of his estate upon his passing in 1913. However, when Mary Lily passed away in 1917, the distribution of the Flagler fortune took a different turn.

Before her marriage to Judge Thomas H. Bingham, Mary Lily made the decision to waive his rights to the Flagler fortune. This meant that most of the estate was left to Mary Lily’s birth family members, namely her nieces and nephews. The decision to exclude Judge Bingham from the majority of the inheritance was a surprising one, considering that Mary Lily had married him just a year prior to her death.

However, it is important to note that Judge Bingham did receive a significant sum of money from the estate. He was granted $5 million, which, even by today’s standards, is a substantial amount. This inheritance was a late addition to Mary Lily’s will and raised some concerns and speculation about Judge Bingham’s motives and intentions.

The circumstances surrounding the allocation of the Flagler fortune have led to speculation and rumors about the relationship between Mary Lily and Judge Bingham. Some have suggested that their marriage may not have been as strong or genuine as it appeared on the surface. The late addition of the $5 million inheritance to Judge Bingham could be seen as an attempt to appease any doubts or reservations about his involvement in Mary Lily’s life.

While it is difficult to ascertain the true motivations behind Mary Lily’s decisions regarding her estate, it is clear that her birth family members were the primary beneficiaries. The Flagler fortune, which was once under the control of one of the richest women in America, was ultimately distributed among her nieces and nephews.

The Flagler fortune faced an interesting fate after Mary Lily Kenan Flagler’s death. Her decision to waive Judge Bingham’s rights to the estate and the late addition of a $5 million inheritance to him raised questions and speculation about their relationship. Ultimately, the majority of the fortune was left to Mary Lily’s birth family members, while Judge Bingham received a significant sum of money. The true motivations behind these decisions remain a subject of debate and intrigue.