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Monday, 29 September 2008 01:20

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Illinois College recently hosted a wonderful event entitled "Let Every Man Remember", the featured UGRR tours and renactments, an elegant banquet at Illinois College's Cummings Dining Hall featuring a tribute to Elijah Lovejoy and Senator Paul Simon, and a superb concert at Illinois College's Rammelkamp Chapel (pictured left).


Elijah Lovejoy, the eldest of nine children, was born on November 9, 1802 at Albion, Maine, His father, the Rev. Daniel Lovejoy was both a Congregational minister and a farmer. By the age of four, Elijah could read the Bible, a skill taught to him by his mother, Elizabeth. At twenty-three Elijah graduated from Waterville College in Maine at the head of his class. After teaching for a year in Maine, he sought a greater challenge and walked to Illinois. Unable to find a teaching job, he walked on to the larger city of St. Louis. Here he started his own school which was very successful but still did not provide the challenge he sought. In 1830 he bought a half interest in the St. Louis Times and became its editor. A slave, William Brown, worked for Elijah and after he escaped to freedom in Canada, wrote these words: "...Mr. Lovejoy was a very good man, and decidedly the best master I had ever had. I am chiefly indebted to him, and to my employment in the printing office, for what little learning I obtained while in slavery."

Although Elijah attended church regularly, he had not joined a church. His parents as well as Elijah prayed for his conversion. In January 1832 a series of revivals were held by the Presbyterian Church of St. Louis led by the Rev. David Nelson. Nelson attacked sin in a general way and then spoke of the sin of slavery. He made his audience see that God condemned the sale of human beings which was taking place in their city. During one of these sessions, Elijah was converted. He joined the Presbyterian Church and after discussing the matter with his pastor decided to become a minister.

In March 1832, Elijah enrolled at Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey and completed his training in 13 months. While he was seeking where he might preach, he received a letter from a group in St. Louis who wanted to start a newspaper which would promote religion, morality and education. They offered Elijah $1200 to buy a printing press and other equipment. He wrote to his brother, Owen, "They are impatiently calling me to the West, and to the West I must go." He arrived in St. Louis on Nov. 12, 1833 having been commissioned by the American Home Missionary Society to preach in the scattered churches in Missouri.

Ten days after arriving in St. Louis, Elijah Lovejoy published the first edition of his newspaper The Observer. He not only edited the paper but traveled the frontier preaching in its scattered Presbyterian Churches. On one of these trips he met Celia Ann French from St. Charles and on March 4, 1835 Elijah Lovejoy and Celia Ann French were married.

As Elijah became more convinced that slavery must end, he wrote increasingly of this sin in The Observer. The more he wrote of this sin, the more enemies he made. In 1836, fearing for the safety of his family, he moved the paper to Alton, Illinois. The stories of Elijah's relationship with Edward Beecher and the antislavery men of central Illinois are well documented in the late Senator Paul Simon's biography: Freedom's Champion. The story of the riots and the death of Elijah Lovejoy while defending his printing press against an antislavery Alton mob on November 7, 1837 is well documented in Edward Beecher's Narrative of Riots at Alton.


Paul Simon wa a professor at Southern Illinois University, where he taught classes in political science, history and journalism. He joined SIU's faculty in 1947 - just weeks after retiring from the U.S. Senate. Simon made his home in tiny Makanda, Illinois (population 402), and taught at the nearby SIU Carbondale campus. Simon was founder and director of the Public Policy Institute at the Carbondale campus. The Institute opened its doors in I997 and promises to "find new ways of solving some very old problems," said Simon.

Prior to leaving the U.S. Senate, Simon ranked as Illinois' senior senator. In the 104th Congress he served on the budget, labor and human resources, judiciary and Indian affairs committees. He has also served on the foreign relations committee.

Enacted education and job training laws he wrote include the National Literacy Act, the School-To-Work Opportunities Act, the Job Training Partnership Act amendments, several provisions of the Goals 2000 Act and the 1994 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. He was the leading Senate champion of the new direct college loan program, enacted in 1991 as a pilot program and expanded in 1993 as a replacement for the guaranteed student loan program.

Simon, a Democrat, was born November 29, 1928, in Eugene, Oregon. He attended the University of Oregon and Dana College in Blair, Nebraska. At the age of 19, Simon became the nation's youngest editor-publisher when he accepted a local Lion's Club challenge to save the Troy Tribune in Troy, Illinois, near St. Louis. He built a chain of 13 newspapers in southern and central Illinois, which he sold in 1966, to devote full-time to public service and writing. Simon used the Tribune to expose syndicate gambling connections in Madison County. In 1951, at age 22, he was called as a key witness to testify before the U.S. Senate's Crime Investigating Committee.

He was elected to the Illinois House in 1954 and to the Illinois Senate in 1962. During his 14 years in the legislature, he won the Independent Voters of Illinois' "Best Legislator Award" every session. Simon began earning a reputation for political courage and integrity during his years in the legislature.

In 1960, Paul Simon married Jeanne Hurley of Wilmette, whom he met while both served in the Illinois House. Jeanne Simon died in February, 2000. They had two children, Sheila and Martin, three granddaughters, Reilly Marie, Corey Jeanne and Brennan and one grandson, Nicholas. In May, 2001, he married Patricia Derge, the widow of a former SIUC president, David Derge, who died in 1996. Patti Simon has two children, Jennie and Bill.

Simon was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974 and served Illinois' 22nd and 24th Congressional Districts for 10 years.

In 1984, Simon upset three-term incumbent Charles Percy to win election to the U.S. Senate. In 1987-88, he sought the Democratic nomination for president. He won re-election to the U.S. Senate in 1990 by defeating Congresswoman Lynn Martin with 65 percent of the vote and by nearly 1 million votes -- the largest plurality of any contested candidate for senator or governor of either party that year.

During his years as a public official, Paul Simon was known for exceptional constituent service. His office handled more cases each year-than almost any other Senate office. He also was the Senate's pacesetter in convening town meetings. As a senator, Simon held more than 600 town meetings throughout the state, more than any U.S. senator from Illinois in the state's history. For 40 consecutive years - longer than any other federal officeholder - Simon released an annual detailed financial disclosure report for himself and his wife.

Simon held over 55 honorary degrees and had written 22 books.

Paul Simon died on December 9, 2003.


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