Henry A. P. Muhlenberg

Henry Augustus Philip Muhlenberg (May 13, 1782 – August 11, 1844) was an American political leader and diplomat. He was a member of the Muhlenberg family political dynasty.

Henry A. P. Muhlenberg
Henry A. Muhlenberg (US Congressman from Pennsylvania).jpg
U.S. Minister to the Austrian Empire
In office
February 8, 1838 – September 18, 1840
PresidentMartin Van Buren
Preceded byOffice created
Succeeded byDaniel Jenifer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 9th district
In office
Preceded byJames Ford
Philander Stephens
Lewis Dewart
Succeeded byGeorge M. Keim
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 7th district
In office
Preceded byWilliam Addams
Joseph Fry, Jr.
Succeeded byDavid D. Wagener
Personal details
Henry Augustus Philip Muhlenberg

(1782-05-13)May 13, 1782
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
DiedAugust 11, 1844(1844-08-11) (aged 62)
Political partyJacksonian Democrat
RelationsFrederick Muhlenberg (uncle)
Peter Muhlenberg (uncle)
ChildrenHenry Augustus Muhlenberg
Parent(s)Gotthilf Henry Ernest Muhlenberg
Mary Catherine Hall Muhlenberg
OccupationMinister, politician

Early lifeEdit

Henry Augustus Philip Muhlenberg was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on May 13, 1782.[1] Henry was the son of Mary Catherine (née Hall) Muhlenberg and Gotthilf Henry Ernest Muhlenberg, a prominent clergyman and botanist.[2]

His paternal grandfather was Henry Muhlenberg, a German born Lutheran pastor who was sent to North America as a missionary. His paternal grandmother, Anna Maria (née Weiser) Muhlenberg was the daughter of Colonial leader, Conrad Weiser.[3] Among Henry's uncles were Revolutionary War leaders, Frederick Muhlenberg, later the 1st Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Peter Muhlenberg, who served as the 8th Vice-President of Pennsylvania under Benjamin Franklin before his election as a U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.[4]


Henry studied theology and was ordained a Lutheran minister in 1802. He served as pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Reading, Pennsylvania from April 1803 to June 1829.[4]

He was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1814.[5]

Political careerEdit

In 1828, Muhlenberg was elected to the United States House of Representatives to serve in the 21st United States Congress as a Jacksonian Democrat.[6] He was reelected, as a Jacksonian, to the 22nd through 24th United States Congresses. On December 9, 1834, he wrote to John M. Read, later the Attorney General of Pennsylvania, about James Buchanan's election to the United States Senate, stating: "I rejoice in the election of our friend Buchanan" and that "he will be an honor to the State and of much service to our friends."[7]

Muhlenberg was again reelected to the 25th Congress, this time as a Democrat, and served from March 4, 1829, until his resignation on February 9, 1838 when he was appointed the first United States Minister to the Austrian Empire on February 8, 1838.[8] He presented his credentials in Vienna on November 7, 1838, and served until September 18, 1840 when he left his post and was succeeded by Daniel Jenifer.[9]

He ran unsuccessfully for Governor of Pennsylvania twice in 1835 and 1838. He was nominated by the Democratic Party a third time in 1844, but died before the election took place.[4]

Personal lifeEdit

Muhlenberg was twice married. His first marriage was in 1805 to Mary Elizabeth Muhlenberg (1784–1806). Mary died on March 21, 1806 giving birth to a daughter:[3]

  • Mary Elizabeth Muhlenberg (1806–1838), who married the Rev. Ehrgott Jonathan Deininger (1801–1881).[3]

After her death, he remarried to Rebecca Hiester (1781–1841) on June 7, 1808.[3] Rebecca was the daughter of Elizabeth (née Witman) Hiester and Joseph Hiester, the 5th governor of Pennsylvania.[2] Together, they were the parents of:[3]

  • Emma Elizabeth Muhlenberg, who died in infancy.[3]
  • Hiester Henry Muhlenberg (1812–1886), who married Amelia Howard (1817–1852). After her death, he married Katharine Spang Hunter (1835–1913).
  • Emma Elizabeth Muhlenberg (1817–1833), who died unmarried.[3]
  • Rosa Catharine Muhlenberg (1821–1867), who married Gustavus Anthony Nicolls (1817–1886).[3]
  • Henry Augustus Muhlenberg (1823–1854), who was elected to Congress and married his cousin, Ann Hall Muhlenberg.[3]

Muhlenberg died in Reading, Pennsylvania on August 11, 1844 and is interred at the Charles Evans Cemetery.[4]


Through his son Henry, he was the grandfather of Henry Augustus Muhlenberg III, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 1892.[3]


  1. ^ Biographical Memoir of the Late Henry A. Muhlenberg. The United States Democratic review. / Volume 16, Issue 79. J.& H.G. Langley, etc. January 1845. p. 73. Retrieved 2009-01-28.
  2. ^ a b The Pennsylvania German Society Proceedings and Addresses at Reading, Oct. 27, 1905, Vol. XVI. Pennsylvania German Society. 1907. p. 16. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Association, John Conrad Weiser Family (1960). The Weiser Family: A Genealogy of the family of John Conrad Weiser, the elder (d. 1746); prepared on the two hundred fiftieth anniversary of his arrival in America, 1710-1760. John Conrad Weiser Family Assoc. p. 214. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d "MUHLENBERG, Henry Augustus Philip - Biographical Information". bioguide.congress.gov. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  5. ^ American Antiquarian Society Members Directory
  6. ^ Cheathem, Mark R. (2007). Old Hickory's Nephew: The Political and Private Struggles of Andrew Jackson Donelson. LSU Press. p. 166. ISBN 9780807135655. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  7. ^ "Letter from Henry A. P. Muhlenberg to John M. Read". archives.dickinson.edu. Dickinson College. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  8. ^ Louden, Mark L. (2016). Pennsylvania Dutch: The Story of an American Language. JHU Press. p. 238. ISBN 9781421418285. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  9. ^ "Henry Augustus Philip Muhlenberg - People - Department History - Office of the Historian". history.state.gov. Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs United States Department of State. Retrieved 30 April 2019.

External linksEdit

Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Governor of Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 7th congressional district

1829–1831 alongside: Joseph Fry, Jr.
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 9th congressional district

Succeeded by
Diplomatic posts
New title U.S. Minister to the Austrian Empire
Succeeded by