So after the Illinois Michigan Canal was completed were did the laborers go? Some apparently used the script they were paid to purchase farm land along the canal. However this does not appear to represent a large number because most did not have a large enough stake to start farming. Some went from canal building to workers in the limestone quarries in Lemont, Joliet and Bridgeport. This was essentially a common labor job. Many gravitated to Chicago and lived in slum areas with others of their ethnicity. Others took jobs working in the coal mines along the canal. Others gravitated to jobs in railroad construction. A sizable group stayed in areas around the canal . They took jobs in canal maintenance. Some worked in the canal boats as deck hands and ultimately captains.