Columbus, Chicago and Indiana Central Railway Company, Signed by Jay Cooke & Co., 1871
Certificate issuing One Hundred Shares Capital Stock to Jay Cooke & Co. dated 8th March 1871. Signed "Jay Cooke & Co." on verso. Cancelled; registry stub attached, revenue stamp. Fine.
Jay Cooke was a prominent banker in the United States and a principal financier of the Union military effort during the American Civil War.
On January 1, 1861, Cooke formed his own banking firm. To begin the work of Jay Cooke & Company, he borrowed three million dollars from the government of Pennsylvania. The company prospered as it acquired money for the federal government to finance Northern efforts during the American Civil War. Cooke helped develop a sound fiscal policy that provided the government with the necessary capital to win the war. He negotiated loans for the government and handled the sale of government bonds. By the end of the Civil War, Cooke had secured more than three billion dollars for the federal government through various loans. Because of his contributions, Cooke became known as the "financier of the Civil War." The nation emerged from the war deeply in debt, but the currency of the United States was stable. U.S. citizens and residents of foreign countries viewed United States bonds as fiscally responsible investments. During the war, Cooke also served as a financial adviser to the State of Ohio and helped the state's wartime governors develop sound fiscal policies, most notably the issuing of state bonds.
Following the war, Cooke utilized the wealth that he acquired during the conflict to become involved in a number of other industries, including coal and iron mining, life insurance, and railroads. Cooke played a major role in financing the efforts of the Northern Pacific Company to build a transcontinental railroad. Cooke and his company became financially overextended, and his company failed at the beginning of the Panic of 1873. Cooke lost nearly all of his entire fortune. He regained his wealth through various investments during the late 1800s. Jay Cooke died on February 16, 1905.