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Elijah Parish Lovejoy

1802-1837. Presbyterian editor and abolitionist. Born at Albion, Maine, he graduated from Waterville College, taught school in Maine and Missouri, and was converted in 1832 through Presbyterian abolitionist preacher David Nelson. Lovejoy edited the Presbyterian weekly St. Louis Observer after attending Princeton Seminary and licensing by the Philadelphia Presbytery in 1833. Gradually adopting abolitionist views and staunchly defending freedom of speech, press, and petition, he became the focus of controversy in pro-slavery St. Louis where, in 1836, his establishment was assaulted because he denounced the lynching of a black man. Moving his press to free soil in Alton, Illinois, and protesting the 1836 Presbyterian general assembly's failure to endorse abolition petitions, Lovejoy made the Observer a principal abolitionist periodical with circulation reaching 1,700. Anti-abolitionists, however, unable to drive him from Alton, destroyed his first two presses and shot him to death to destroy a third he was protecting.