Muhlenberg, Gotthilf Henry Ernest, Dd
Muhlenberg, Gotthilf Henry Ernest, D.D.
the youngest son of Dr. H. M. Muhlenberg, was born at the Trappe, Pa., November 17, 1753. He spent several years at the University of Halle in the prosecution of his studies for the sacred office. On his return to this country in 1770 he was ordained to the work of the ministry, and immediately became assistant to his father, and third minister of the United Lutheran churches in Philadelphia. He continued to occupy this position until the British obtained possession of the city. As he was threatened with the halter, because of his zealous attachment to the cause of the Revolution, he found it necessary to flee from the scene of danger. Disguised under a blanket, and with a rifle on his shoulder, he had nearly fallen into hostile hands through the treachery of a Tory innkeeper, who had intentionally directed him to take the road by which the British were approaching. Warned, however, in season, he succeeded in making his escape, and reached New Hanover in safety. Relieved for a time from professional duties, he engaged with great zest in the study of botany, and acquired that love for this favorite pursuit which afterwards so strongly manifested itself. On the election of his brother to a civil office he succeeded him as pastor. In the year 1780 he removed to Lancaster, where he labored in the ministry with great efficiency, enjoying the uninterrupted regard of his congregation, and exercising an influence in the community which it is rarely the privilege of the most highly favored to enjoy, until his death, which occurred May 23, 1815. He was a man of vigorous intellect and extensive attainments. He was an able theologian, a good linguist, and. was distinguished as an Oriental scholar. His acquisitions in medicine, chemistry, and mineralogy were also considerable. As a botanist he had a European reputation, and was in correspondence with the most distinguished savans of the Continent. His Catalogus Plantcaum and Descriptio Uberior Graminum are well known. His Mora Lancastriensis is still in manuscript, as well as several treatises in the department of theology and ethics. (M.L.S.)