Jay Cooke signature Learn about Cooke: The Man Cooke Family Tree Gibraltar Island Slide Show Family News Discussion Group


Jay Cooke was an ambitious man, achieving many honorable successes throughout his life. His work as a banker was important to him, as was his relationship with his family. He embraced both work and family, with strong devotion to God and with a light-hearted spirit that set him apart and made him unique among his circle of acquaintances. A native of Sandusky, Ohio, born on August 10, 1821, Cooke prided himself with being "probably the first, or nearly first boy baby born in Sandusky".

Philadelphia eventually became his home, and he formed the banking house of Jay Cooke and Company in that city in 1861. With political changes occurring in Washington due to the onset of the Civil War, Jay Cooke was fully aware of the potential business opportunities awaiting his newly formed banking company. Of his many achievements, his work during the Civil War as financier for the Union was probably his most noted. His work and efforts in the sale of bonds provided the Union Army with a generous amount of funding, which contributed enormously to the Union victory.

Jay Cooke was five feet, eleven inches tall, and stood very straight. Besides being cheerful, he was naturally frank, cordial, and generous. He was an avid fisherman and between 1865 and 1904 he thoroughly enjoyed sharing his beloved Gibraltar Island retreat with family and friends.

Cooke Castle (small)
Gibraltar Dock

The Castle, 1906

A view of Cooke Castle on Gibraltar Island in Lake Erie.

Gibraltar Dock, 1897

Jay Cooke and Charles Dennis Barney arrive at Gibraltar aboard the Olive.

Father and Daughter, c 1899
Father and Daughter, c. 1899

Jay Cooke and daughter Sarah Butler on the Castle porch.

More resources:

Jay Cooke's 1900 Speech
(143K PDF)

1998 Reunion Speech by J. Harding
(133K PDF)