Lovejoy, Owen

Life Span
    Full name
    Owen Lovejoy
    Place of Birth
    Burial Place
    Birth Date Certainty
    Death Date Certainty
    Sectional choice
    Free State
    No. of Siblings
    No. of Spouses
    No. of Children
     Daniel Lovejoy (father), Elizabeth Pattee (mother), Elijah Parish Lovejoy (brother), Joseph Lovejoy (brother), Eunice Storrs Denham (wife, 1843)
    Other Education
    Bowdoin College, ME
    Attorney or Judge
    Relation to Slavery
    White non-slaveholder
    Church or Religious Denomination
    Other Religion
    Political Parties
    Other Affiliations
    Abolitionists (Anti-Slavery Society)
    US House of Representatives
    State legislature

    Owen Lovejoy (Congressional Biographical Directory)

    LOVEJOY, Owen,  (cousin of Nathan Allen Farwell), a Representative from Illinois; born in Albion, Maine, on January 6, 1811; attended the common schools and was graduated from Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, in 1832; studied law but never practiced; studied theology; moved to Alton, Madison County, Ill., in 1836; ordained pastor of the Congregational Church in Princeton, Ill., 1839-1856; member of the State house of representatives in 1854; elected as a Republican to the Thirty-fifth and to the three succeeding Congresses and served from March 4, 1857, until his death in Brooklyn, N.Y., March 25, 1864; chairman, Committee on Agriculture (Thirty-seventh Congress), Committee on District of Columbia (Thirty-eighth Congress); interment in Oakland Cemetery, Princeton, Ill.
    “Lovejoy, Owen,” Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 to Present,

    Owen Lovejoy (American National Biography)

    In the 1840s Lovejoy became an active political abolitionist, running unsuccessfully for Congress as a Liberty party candidate in 1846. In August 1848 he attended the Free Soil convention in Buffalo and again ran unsuccessfully as that party's candidate for Congress from Illinois's Fourth District. During these years he modified his antislavery stance, rejecting the argument of the more radical abolitionists that slavery should be attacked wherever it existed in favor of advocacy of the Wilmot Proviso, which would contain slavery and prevent its expansion into territories acquired during the Mexican War. With other Free Soilers, he opposed Stephen A. Douglas's Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 and joined in the unsuccessful efforts that year to form the Illinois Republican party. In doing so he urged antislavery radicals to moderate their demands to facilitate unity in a new party.

    The Whig party in Illinois died more slowly than in many other northern states, and Lovejoy was among the most active in persuading members to join the new Republican organization rather than its rival, the anti-immigrant Know Nothing party. Among those he befriended in these efforts was Abraham Lincoln. In 1856 Lovejoy was a delegate to the state and national Republican conventions, and that fall he won a seat in Congress as a Republican, beginning eight years of antislavery agitation in the House of Representatives.

    Lovejoy campaigned actively in Illinois for Lincoln's election as president in 1860. A supporter of a vigorous prosecution of the war effort against the Confederacy, he sought to persuade President Lincoln and the Congress to move more quickly toward emancipation.
    Frederick J. Blue, "Lovejoy, Owen," American National Biography Online, February 2000,
    Chicago Style Entry Link
    Berfield, Karen. “Three Antislavery Leaders of Bureau County.” Western Illinois Regional Studies 3 no, 1 (1980): 46-65. view record
    Blue, Frederick J. No Taint of Compromise: Crusaders in Antislavery Politics. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2005. view record
    Dillon, Merton Lynn. Elijah P. Lovejoy, Abolitionist Editor. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1961. view record
    Haberkorn, Ruth E. "Owen Lovejoy in Princeton, Illinois," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 36 (1943): 284-315. view record
    Lovejoy, Joseph C., and Owen Lovejoy. Memoir of the Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy; Who Was Murdered in Defence of the Liberty of the Press at Alton, Illinois, Nov. 7, 1837. New York: John S. Taylor, 1838. view record
    Magdol, Edward. "Owen Lovejoy's Role in the Campaign of 1858." Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 51 (1958): 403-416. view record
    Magdol, Edward. Owen Lovejoy: Abolitionist in Congress. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1967. view record
    Snay, Mitchell. “Abraham Lincoln, Owen Lovejoy, and the Emergence of the Republican Party in Illinois.” Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association 22, no. 1 (2001): 82-99. view record
    Trefousse, Hans L. “Owen Lovejoy and Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.” Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association 22, no. 1 (2001): 14-32. view record
    How to Cite This Page: "Lovejoy, Owen," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,