The Illinois and Michigan Canal, 1827–1911
A Selection of Documents from the Illinois State Archives
DOCUMENT 22LETTER FROM JEREMIAH CROTTY TO WILLIAM GOODING CONCERNING CONTRACT WORK ON SECTION 139
August 9, 1846
Labor on the canal line was scarce throughout 1845 and 1846. The trustees on July 25, 1846 voted to employ agents in New York City, Boston, and Montreal to encourage the unemployed there to move out to the I and M. They further voted on September 11 to print and distribute handbills advertising canal labor in cities and towns between Albany and Buffalo, New York and from there to Detroit. Because of the unusually wet season and prevalent sickness in the region, the trustees voted on December 11 to put back the due date for the final installment on the $1,600,000 subscription loan from December 20, 1846 to April 1, 1847 for Illinois subscribers. Jeremiah Crotty had subscribed a total of $2,343.75 to this loan.
Section 139 of the canal was located just east of Seneca, across the La Salle County line and into Grundy County. Crotty previously had held contracts on various sections west of Seneca and east of La Salle. Winter canal work was most unusual.
For a map of the completed canal route, see Exhibit A.
Points to Consider
What kind of work did Crotty not want? Why?
How would Crotty's receipt of this contract have benefited both Crotty and the canal?
Compare Crotty's letters of October 16, 1845 and August 9, 1846 (document 19 and document 22).
If you had traveled some distance and then arrived at the canal line to work in the summer of 1846, what would you have done when construction shut down when winter came later that year?