Jay Cooke made his reputation serving the Union during the Civil War. Cooke was more than a banker; he was a promoter, an entrepreneur, and a developer. Cookes father was a prominent figure in Ohio political and legal circles. In 1836, at the age of fifteen, Cooke accepted an offer to go to St. Louis to work the merchants Seymour and Bool. Cooke became a protg of Enoch Clark and was the firms principal counterfeit clerkhe had a unique ability to spot counterfeit banknotes. Cooke made contact with Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase informing him that he and Anthony Drexel, another Philadelphia banker, planned to open branch of Cooke and Co. in Washington. The US Treasury was completely unprepared to deal with the war emergency. The war was barely over when Cooke received an overture from William L. Banning, president of the Lake Shore and Mississippi Railroad, seeking the bankers services as the fiscal agent of the road.