and pioneer cotton planter in Peru, was born in Old Ross, County
Wexford, the son of John Leigh and Elisa Whitney.
with his brother John, in 1853 Henry Leigh emigrated to Chile
and in 1855 to Paita, Peru. In Paita, Leigh was employed by
British merchants, but when he settled in Piura, he opened his
own business, H.H. Leigh & Co. Henry Leigh was the first to
export cotton from Piura to Europe, and he established the first
cotton press in the region.
In 1857 Henry Hilton married Carmen Cortés del Castillo. They
had no children. She was a cousin of Miguel Cortés del Castillo,
a hero in the Battle of Junín against the Spanish forces. In
1886, Leigh married his wife’s sister Mercedes Jesús Cortés del
Castillo and their children were George Edward, Benjamin, who
was a doctor and lived in
England, Federico, who was an engineer and lived in England,
Carlos and Guillermo/William. They adopted Mercedes Leigh Cortés
Leigh's contributions to the production of cotton in the region
was the creation of a new measurement, the carga. The
market in Piura and the planters of the region used carga
as the standard unit for growing and marketing cotton in the
city. Henry Leigh also installed the first telephone line, from
his house in Lima street to the 'Bigote' plantation. By 1910, he
was one of the wealthiest landowners in Piura, as a producer of
cotton and cattle.
1891-1905, Leigh was the first president of the Piura Chamber of
Commerce and Production. He was a generous supporter of the
Belén hospital, located in the Plaza de Armas up to the
earthquake of 1912.
died in 1910 in Santo Domingo (Piura) and was buried at the San
Urbina, Jorge E., Historia de la Cámara de Comercio y
Producción: 100 años Conquistando el Desierto (Piura: Cámara
de comercio de Piura, 1991).