On November 15th 1852, on one of his last trips on the I&M Canal, Captain John Connett and his boat, the Prairie Queen, struck ice and sunk in the canal. Which is one of the reasons why the LaSalle Canal boat season on the I&M is now from April to October!
John Connett was one of the most popular packet boat captains on the I&M Canal. Born in western New York, he piloted a boat on the erie Canal before moving to Chicago in 1848. One testimonial to Connett characterized his as, “one of the most experienced and successful navigators on the canal, and affableness and accommodating manners, make passengers, while on board, feel that they are in comfortable quarters.” An attentive and accommodating boat captain could make an uncomfortable passage more tolerable for harried passengers.