Lovejoy, Elijah

Reformer and Editor


Born on November 9, 1802, in Albion, Main, Lovejoy graduated from Waterville (now Colby) College in 1826. He taught in Missouri until 1827 and then became the editor of the St. Louis Times, a Whig paper. After studying for the ministry at Princeton, he was licensed as a Presbyterian minister in 1833, and returned to St. Louis to edit a Presbyterian newspaper, the St. Louis Observer. He took up the banners of reform, attacking "popery," and promulgating a moderate antislavery line.

However, he soon decided to move to Alton, Illinois when the citizens of St. Louis responded negatively to his paper. Lovejoy found he was not welcome in Alton either, but he chose to stay and started the Alton Observer. Adopting a strong abolitionist line, he called for the formation of an Illinois antislavery society on July 6, 1837. Many advocates of slavery in Alton responded with anger; and time and time again the papers press was smashed. But each time, the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society managed to send him a new one.

Lovejoy‚s fourth press arrived on November 6, 1837 and was placed in a warehouse, protected by an armed guard. Unfortunately, the following night, as Lovejoy attempted to prevent a mob from setting the warehouse on fire, he was shot and killed.