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Henry Muhlenberg House - Trappe, PA

Updated: Jun 23, 2022

Henry Muhlenberg was born in 1711 to Nicolaus Melchior Mühlenberg and Anna Maria Kleinschmid in Einbec, Germany. During his younger years he studied at Goettingen and at Halle.


During 1735, Lutherans began to arrive in the United States. In the early 1740's, numerous congregations wrote to Halle University, requesting the assistance of a pastor. Muhlenberg was chosen and sent to America. He arrived in Charleston on September 23, 1742 and traveled to Philadelphia. Quickly he was recognized by Lutheran, German, Swedish, and other churches, as the senior Lutheran pastor in America. His leadership was provided to a group of congregations; from Maryland to New York.


Muhlenberg's plan for local church government eased the transition to the “free church” model, and formed the basis for plans of local church government in American Lutheran churches today.


Pastor Muhlenberg traveled to the American colonies gathering information about Lutheran communities and congregations. In the beginning he preached in a barn. His congregation was excited to build a new church. In January 1743, the congregation began hauling stones to build a new church. The structure was built during the spring and summer months and the first church service was held on September 12, 1743. The church was completed and dedicated on October 6, 1745. They named the church the "Old Trappe Church." Muhlenberg’s responsibilities grew over the years, finally serving in Philadelphia on the eve of the American Revolution.


Soon after arriving in Pennsylvania, in 1745, Muhlenberg married Anna Maria Weiser, the daughter of colonial leader Conrad Weiser. The couple had eleven children that were active in the US military, politics, academia and ministry. Three of their sons entered the ministry and became prominent in other fields, as well. Their son Peter became a Major General in the Continental Army and later was elected to the U.S. Congress. Frederick served as the first Speaker of the House in the U.S. Congress after his election to office. Henry, Jr. became pastor of the Zion Lutheran Church at Oldwick, New Jersey. Henry Ernst was an early scientist, and the first president of Franklin College (now Franklin & Marshall).


Growing tired and feeling his age, Rev. Muhlenberg planned for his retirement in 1776. He and his wife purchased a home that he admired from his earlier years at Augustus Lutheran Church, in Trappe, PA. This stone home was built in 1750 for Jacob Schrack Jr., a blacksmith. Muhlenberg's intention was to purchase this home so he could escape the political turmoil happening in Philadelphia. Muhlenberg eventually died in his home at the age of 76.

Located on the property are the remains of a pottery kiln dated to about 1720. It is the oldest intact pottery kiln known in Pennsylvania.


The house is owned by the Trappe Historical Society and is now a historic house museum. For information on tour reservations, contact info@historictrappe.org.


To learn more on his son, Frederick Muhlenberg, who also resided in a historic home in Trappe, PA click HERE.

Located at: 201 Main Street, Trappe, PA 19426








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