Heinrich Melchior Muhlenberg (1711 - 1787)

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Birthplace: Einbeck, Lower Saxony, Germany
Death: Died in Trappe, Montgomery, PA, USA
Occupation: "Patriarch of American Lutheranism"
Managed by: Thor "Pelle" Egede-Nissen
Last Updated:

About Heinrich Melchior Muhlenberg

Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, a Pennsylvania Lutheran pastor, knew what he was talking about when he wrote that the black population “secretly wished the British army might win, for then all Negro slaves will gain their freedom. It is said that this sentiment is universal among all the Negroes in America.”

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/dirty-little-secret-115579444/#qUJ7oTKMQhIcVbft.99

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Henry Muhlenberg

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Henry Melchior Muhlenberg (an anglicanization of Heinrich Melchior Mühlenberg) (September 6, 1711 – October 7, 1787), was a German Lutheran pastor, sent to North America as a missionary. Muhlenberg was integral to the founding of the first Lutheran church body, or denomination, in North America and is considered to be the patriarch of the Lutheran Church in the United States.

Muhlenberg's family had a significant impact on colonial life in North America. In addition to Henry Muhlenberg's role in the Lutheran church, his children became pastors, military officers, and politicians. Muhlenberg is commemorated in the liturgical calendar of the Lutheran Church on October 7.

Biography

He was born at Einbeck, in the German state of Hanover. He graduated from the Georg-August University of Göttingen in 1738. He went on to become a teacher at Halle (Saale), where he also studied theology under Gotthilf Francke at the University of Halle. He entered the ministry in Germany. He served as assistant minister and director of the orphanage at Grosshennersdorf from 1739 to 1741.[1]

The Lutheran Churches in Pennsylvania had largely been founded by lay ministers. These ministers were less than effective in keeping Nicolaus Ludwig Zinzendorf from winning over a number of converts to the Moravian Church. They then sought formally trained clergy, and in 1742 Henry answered that call by immigrating to Philadelphia in response to an official request sent in 1732 by Pennsylvania Lutherans. He arrived unheralded, and took charge of the congregation at Providence (Augustus Lutheran Church), in what is now Trappe, Pennsylvania, but he served as leader of a series of congregations from Maryland to New York. He also worked to secure control over a number of pastors of dubious character and began the task of starting new congregations among the settlers of the region. [1] In 1748 he called together The Ministerium of Pennsylvania, the first permanent Lutheran synod in America. He helped to prepare a uniform liturgy that same year, and also put together basic tenets for an ecclesiastical constitution which most of the churches adopted in 1761. Also, much of the work for a hymnal published by the Ministerium in 1786 was his own.

He frequently traveled beyond the three congregations assigned to him, traveling from New York to Georgia over the course of his forty-five years of active ministry. During this time, he ministered by his preaching not only to the German populations he was assigned to, but to colonists from the Netherlands and England as well, in their native languages.[1] The respect many of his colleagues held for him often caused them to request his assistance in arbitrating disputes between Lutherans, or in some cases with other religious groups.

He also worked to recruit new ministers from Europe and to develop a greater number of ministers from the local population.

He was eventually forced by poor health into more limited activity and retirement. He eventually died at his home in Trappe, Pennsylvania.

[edit]Dynasty

Muhlenberg married Anna Maria Weiser, the daughter of Conrad Weiser, in 1745. The couple had eleven children, and in so doing founded the Muhlenberg Family dynasty. Of their children three of his sons entered the ministry yet became prominent in other fields as well. Muhlenberg himself was very loyal to the House of Hanover, and worked to stay neutral during the American Revolution. One of his sons, though, Peter became a Major General in the Continental Army during the American Revolution and then entered Congress. Frederick served as the first Speaker of the House in the U. S. Congress. Henry Jr. became pastor of the Zion Lutheran Church at Oldwick, New Jersey. Henry Ernst was an early American scientist, and the first president of Franklin (now Franklin & Marshall) College. Several of Henry and Maria's daughters also deserve mention. Elisabeth was married to General Francis Swaine, and Sarah to Congressman Mathias Richards. Eve married Emmanuel Shulze, and their son John Andrew Schulze became Governor of Pennsylvania.

[edit]Legacy

He is commemorated in the Calendar of Saints of the Lutheran Church on October 7 each year.

A larger than life monument of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg entitled "Man of Vision", sculpted by American artist Stanely Wanlass, can be seen at Allentown, Pennsylvania's Muhlenberg College, which is named for Muhlenberg. Lake Muhlenberg, located near the Muhlenberg campus in Allentown, also is named for Muhlenberg.

-------------------- Henry Melchior Muhlenberg (an anglicanization of Heinrich Melchior Mühlenberg) (September 6, 1711 – October 7, 1787), was a German Lutheran pastor sent to North America as a missionary, requested by Pennsylvania colonists. Integral to the founding of the first Lutheran church body or denomination in North America, Muhlenberg is considered the patriarch of the Lutheran Church in the United States. Muhlenberg and his wife Anna Maria had a large family, several of whom had a significant impact on colonial life in North America as pastors, military officers, and politicians. His and Anna Maria's descendants continued to be active in Pennsylvania and national political life.

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Heinrich Melchior Muhlenberg's Timeline

1711
September 6, 1711
Einbeck, Lower Saxony, Germany
1745
1745
Age 33
Stouchsburg, Berks, Pennsylvania, United States
1746
October 1, 1746
Age 35
Trappe, Pennsylvania, United States
1747
January 29, 1747
Age 35
Trappe, Montgomery, PA, USA
1750
January 1, 1750
Age 38
Trappe, Montgomery, Pennsylvania, USA
1751
September 17, 1751
Age 40
Trappe, Montgomery, PA, USA
1753
November 17, 1753
Age 42
Trappe, Montgomery, PA, USA
1753
Age 41
Trappe, Pennsylvania
1755
November 4, 1755
Age 44
Trappe, Montgomery, PA, USA
1758
August 21, 1758
Age 46