Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 7 >> Connective Tissue to Cooke >> Cooke


firm, bonds and loan

COOKE, Jay, American capitalist, known as the °Financier of the Rebellion": b. San dusky, Ohio, 10 Aug. 1821; d. Ogontz, Pa., 16 Feb. 1905. He was educated in private schools. At the age of 13 he had entered mercantile life as a clerk in a Sanduslcy store, there displaying unusual ability as a bookkeeper. In 1835 he went to Saint Louis to engage in mercantile business. In 1838 he entered the banking house of E. W. Clark & Company in Philadelphia, and so rapidly mastered the intricacies of finance that before he became of age he was given power of attorney for the firm. Upon his retirement from that firm he was engaged in a general banking business until 1861, when he united with his brother-in-law under the name of Jay Cooke & Company. From 1861 65 his house acted as agent for the government in floating the Civil War bond issues to the extent of $2,500,000,000, including the 5-20 loan of 515,000,000 (February 1862), the 10-40 loan of ,000,000 (March 1864), the 7-30 loan of ,992,500 (June 1864 to March 1865), and others. These services he rendered to the

nation for so small a commission there was practically no profit. A long period of success ful operations followed the war, and then the firm became fiscal agents of the Northern Pacific Railway Company, advancing large sums of money on its bonds, but in the financial panic of 1873, being unable to realize a suffi cient amount on the bonds to tide them over the trouble, on 18 September suspended busi ness and eventually went into bankruptcy. The value of the bonds afterward greatly increased. Mr. Cooke not only regained his fortune, but paid his creditors both principal and interest, and the firm continued successfully. Consult Oberholtzer, E. P., 'Jay Cooke, Financier .of the Civil War' (Philadehia 1908).