Business & Finance: Family Feud

When ruggedly individualistic Robert Ingersoll Ingalls Sr. died last year at 68, he left behind a double legacy: a $40 million, family-controlled iron and shipbuilding empire, and a bitter legal wrangle over who should run it.

Starting with what he later described as "a one-horse shop—one Negro and one mule," Ingalls built his blacksmith and forging business into Alabama's Ingalls Iron Works, biggest independent steel fabricator in the South. He branched out into shipbuilding, and wartime orders built his Ingalls Shipbuilding Corp. of Pascagoula, Miss, into the largest shipyard on the Gulf Coast. Last year the combined enterprises grossed more than $200,000,000.

Though...

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