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Elijah P. Lovejoy

Elijah P. Lovejoy was an American journalist, ordained minister and abolitionist. in 1834 he joined the staff of the St. Louis Observer and was pastor of the Des Peres Presbyterian Church (the “Old Meeting House”). Afterwards, due to increased hostility toward abolitionists, Lovejoy left Missouri and became the editor of the abolitionist paper the Alton Observer in Illinois. Lovejoy’s printing press had been seized by pro-slavery mobs and thrown into the river on three different occasions. On November 7, 1837, pro-slavery partisans approached the warehouse where a new printing press had been hidden. Gunfire was exchanged, followed by an attempt to burn the warehouse where Lovejoy and others were barricaded. Lovejoy ran from the building to remove a ladder which had been raised to burn the roof, and was shot and killed. The new printing press was broken into pieces and scattered in the river. Lovejoy became a martyr in the abolition movement, and is buried in Alton Cemetery in Madison County, Illinois.