Alton, Illinois

City: Alton

County: Madison

State: Illinois

Lat/Long: 38.8833, -90.1833

Originally several separate townships, Alton absorbed Lower Alton in 1835. Alton was the home of Elijah P. Lovejoy and his abolitionist newspaper, the Alton Observer; a mob attacked Lovejoy on November 7, 1837, killing him and destroying his press. From 1833 to 1860, Alton was the site of the Illinois State Penitentiary. In October 1858, Alton was the site of one of the debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas.

Merton L. Dillon, "Lovejoy, Elijah Parish," American National Biography, ed. by John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 14:4-5; W. T. Norton, N. G. Flagg, and J. S. Hoerner, Centennial History of Madison County, Illinois, and Its People (Chicago: Lewis, 1912), 1:480.