Benjamin Newton Duke

Benjamin Newton Duke (1855-1929) was the second son of the tobacco company founder Washington Duke, and elder brother of Duke Endowment founder James Buchanan Duke.

Ben Duke was involved from the start in the family tobacco business that brother James B. ("Buck") Duke built into the first American Tobacco Co. He was also a principal player in its textile and electric-power ventures and took the lead role in the family's philanthrophy.

Invited to join the Trinity College board by rival tobacco seller (but fellow Methodist) Julian Shakespeare Carr, Ben interested his father in patronizing the school, and Duke family donations led to its 1892 move to Durham from Randolph County and sustained it through the financial crises of the 1890s .

Ben Duke built his first residence at the northeast corner of Duke and Chapel Hill streets. Later, he moved across Chapel Hill Street to Four Acres, a spacious stone residence that Duke University used as a guest house until concluding that it had become outmoded. The university sold the property to N.C. Mutual Life Insurance Co. in 1961. The company, at the time the largest African American financial institution in the United States, demolished the house and replaced it with a new corporate headquarters in 1965.

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