Elijah Parish Lovejoy (Nov. 9, 1802 - Nov. 7, 1837) was a newspaper editor, social reformer, and Presbyterian minister whose death at the hands of an angry mob at Alton, Illinois, made him an enduring symbol of the fight for human liberty and freedom of the press.
Born in Albion, Maine, Lovejoy graduated from Waterville (now Colby) College in 1826. He moved the following year to St. Louis, where he taught school and began his career as a journalist, in 1832. Lovejoy decided to be come a minister and returned to the East to study at Princeton Theological Seminary.
In November, 1833, Lovejoy began editing a religious newspaper, the St. Louis Observer. Lovejoy's antislavery views so enraged proslavery Missourians that he fled with his newspaper to Illinois. Three presses were thrown into the Mississippi River. Yet Lovejoy persisted in publishing the Alton Observer. He was shot dead while defending the warehouse in which a fourth press had been stored. His body buried on his thirty-fifth birthday in an unmarked grave at Alton Cemetery was later exhumed and reinterred at its present location on a hillside north of the Lovejoy Monument.
Two others were wounded. Allies were William Harned, Edward Breath, George H. Whitney, Enoch Long, H. D. Davis, Thaddeus B. Hurlbut, Amos B. Roll, James
Morse Jr., George H. Walworth, Reuben Gerry, George T. Brown, D.F. Randall, W.G. Atwood, Royal Weller, John S. Noble, D. Burt Loomis, Henry Tanner. Traditions add Owen Lovejoy, Elijah's brother, Rueben D. Earley, L. Norman Brown, John P. Anderson, a free black man and a Baptist Minister.