Muhlenberg, Frederick Augustus

Muhlenberg, Frederick Augustus (Conrad)

(1750–1801) U.S. representative, clergyman; born in Trappe, Pa. Sent to school in Germany as a teenager, he returned to Philadelphia in 1770 to become a Lutheran minister. He traveled to rural parishes and spent three years at Christ Church in New York, fleeing from Gen. William Howe's British forces in 1776. His career as a clergyman ended in 1779 when he was appointed to the Continental Congress. After a three-year term, he continued in local political offices and presided over his state's convention ratifying the new U.S. Constitution (1787). With partners, he formed importing and sugar refining businesses. A Federalist member of the House (1789–97), he served as speaker during the first three Congresses, an urbane representative of the middle states. However, he worked well with Jeffersonian Republicans, and shortly before he died he threw his support to the Republican party, which appointed him receiver-general of the Pennsylvania Land Office.