Lovejoy and his supporters exchanged gunfire with the mob. The leaders of the mob decided to burn down Gilman’s warehouse, so they got a ladder and set it alongside the building.

Lovejoy was considered a martyr by the abolition movement, and in his name, his brother Owen Lovejoy became the leader of the Illinois abolitionists. His murder was a sign of the increasing tension within the country leading up to the Civil War, and it is for this reason that he is considered to be the “first casualty of the Civil War.”


Elijah Lovejoy was the editor of the Alton Observer. On three occasions, his printing press was destroyed by pro-slavery factions who wanted to stop his publishing abolitionist views. On November 7, 1837, a pro-slavery mob approached a warehouse belonging to merchant Winthrop Sargent Gilman that held Lovejoy’s fourth printing press.

To be Continued…