Peter Muhlenberg was born at Trappe, Pennsylvania, on October 1st. His fathers name was H.M. Muhlenberg, who was the founder of the Lutheran denomination in America. He and his two brothers were sent to Germany for their formal education. He entered the Lutheran ministry and had charge over three churches in America. Two in New Jersey, one at Bedminster and another at New Germantown. After 1772, he had charge over the church at Woodstock, Virginia. While a minister at Woodstock, in 1775, he raised the 8th Virginia (German) regiment. General of the Continental Army, George Washington, after asking Muhlenberg to raise the Virginia regiment, placed him at a rank of Colonel. In February of 1777 he was raised to the rank of Brigadier General. In September 1783 he was breveted to Major General. He took part in the battles of Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth, and at Yorktown commanded the first brigade of light infantry.
After the war was over, Peter returned to Pennsylvania. He was a member of the Virginia convention of 1776, was Vice President of the supreme-executive council of Pennsylvania in 1787-1788, and was a representative in Congress in 1789-1791, in 1793-1795, and in 1799-1801. In 1801 he was elected as a Democratic-Republican to the United States Senate, but immediately resigned to become supervisor of revenue for the district of Pennsylvania. He became collector of the port of Philadelphia in 1803. He was a friend of Thomas Jefferson and of James Monroe.
Peter Muhlenberg was also a member of what the British called the Black Robe Regiment. This regiment was comprised of American clergy that preached independence and freedom from the tyranny of King George III. They were persecuted greatly by the British because of their outspoken criticism of the King. In fact, Christian colonists used to tell each other “no King, but King Jesus”! Some had their churches burned to the ground by the British.
Peters brother, Frederick Muhlenberg was a Lutheran minister also. He was against fighting the revolution. That is, until the British burned his church down, in front of him. He joined the Continental Army the next day. He was also the first and third speaker of the house. He died on his birthday in1807.
One of the greatest stories from the revolution comes by the way of Peter Muhlenberg, and a sermon at Woodstock. As Peter began to preach; he took his text from, Ecclesiasties 3:1-8; “3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 3:2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3:3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 3:5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 3:6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 3:7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 3:8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” When he got to the last verse he said it with emphasis and then said “there is a time to pray, and a time to FIGHT!” As he said this phrase he simultaneously threw of his black clerical robe revealing his Continental Army Officers Uniform, with its decorations and in all it’s glory. As he walked to the back of the church, he opened the doors and the drummers were outside performing the drum roll, the call for volunteers. He stood at the door asking those who would fight, to come and enlist. 162 men turned to their wives and children, said their goodbyes and kissed them; then turned to meet the drummers outside and join.
Committing their lives to defend freedom!
These men are the spirit of the revolution, and they are not taught to children in schools anymore. Why? We have been separated from our national history. These men of God had an enormous amount of conviction and righteous indignation.
We need to desperately reconnect with our founders.
I really hope you have enjoyed learning about John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg. I am dedicating Fridays as a day to help Restore our Foundation by learning about a founder or an immensely important figure in our founding, once a week. Whether that individual was alive before the revolution; or who has since given us our distinct heritage as Americans. I will be writing about those who have been our allies around the world also. Eg. (Winston Churchill). Please help spread the word, that American history will be shared every Friday.
Lets bring some of these people who turned into “just another statue” to lif
Robert E. Stage Jr.