Elijah Parish Lovejoy

Elijah Parish Lovejoy

Birth
Albion, Kennebec County, Maine, USA
Death 7 Nov 1837 (aged 34)
Alton, Madison County, Illinois, USA
Burial
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Alton, Madison County, Illinois, USA
Memorial ID 2427 · View Source
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Social Reformer. Born in Albion, Maine, he was graduated from Waterville College at the top of his class in 1826 and then settled in St. Louis, Missouri, where he established a private secondary school which he ran until 1830 when he became a publishing partner for the "St. Louis Times" newspaper. In 1832 he left St. Louis to attend the Theological Seminary at Princeton, New Jersey, completing the requirements by April of 1833. The following year, he returned to St. Louis as the pastor of the Presbyterian Church and as the editor of the "St. Louis Observer", the city's new reform newspaper. He wrote essays attacking the Catholic Church, Sabbath breakers, drinkers, and blasphemers, and was castigated as an intolerant bigot by a great many of the populace. By the summer of 1835, Lovejoy's views on gradual manumission cast him as an abolitionist in the perception of citizen committees in St. Louis who passed resolutions condemning abolitionist activity in response to his editorials. In April 1836, after a free black riverboat man killed a deputy sheriff, a mob formed, marched on the jailhouse, broke down the cell door, and kidnapped the prisoner who they then chained to a tree and burned him to death. Lovejoy's editorials condemned the act of mob violence, condemned the grand jury who acquitted the lynch mob, and the presiding judge in the case. After which a mob marched on his offices and smashed his printing press. Lovejoy retreated across the river to Alton, Illinois where he continued to publish his newspaper with ever increasing abolitionist leanings. After Lovejoy organized the founding of a state antislavery society, a mob burst into his offices, broke the press, and threw the pieces in the Mississippi River. Lovejoy ordered a new press, but the uncrated press was discovered and also thrown into the river. Lovejoy made one final appeal to the citizens of Alton but the only resolution called for Lovejoy to disband the "Observer" and to leave Alton immediately. Instead, he and a few supporters organized and ordered another press. Word that the press had arrived spread quickly, and Lovejoy's enemies gathered with weapons and demanded that the press be handed over. Lovejoy's group refused to produce the machine. The mob began throwing stones and were fired upon from the warehouse, fatally wounding a member of the mob. Lovejoy then emerged from the building, and several shots from the mob hit him, he staggered back inside and died. His younger brother Owen Lovejoy, who witnessed the attack, became a prominent abolitionist and United States Congressman. Begun in 1952, the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award is given annually and honors a member of the press who "has contributed to the nation's journalistic achievement."

Bio by: Iola



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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2427
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Elijah Parish Lovejoy (9 Nov 1802–7 Nov 1837), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2427, citing Alton Cemetery, Alton, Madison County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .