History of the Muhlenberg Family Bible
Dedicated on Sunday, December 4, 2005, at the Henry Muhlenberg House
The Mühlenberg Bible was donated by the family to The Historical Society of Trappe, Collegeville, and the Perkiomen Valley when earlier this year Dr. John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg of Reading presented it to the Rev. Dr. John C. Shetler, Historian of the Society. Dr. Muhlenberg, who was a direct descendant of the Rev. Dr. Henry Melchior Mühlenberg through two of his sons, John Peter Gabriel Mühlenberg and the Rev. Gotthilf Henry Ernest Mühlenberg, passed away October 28, 2005, and two days later, on Reformation Sunday, after proclaiming the Word and celebrating the Sacrament of Holy Communion in a nearby church, Dr. Shetler died from injuries suffered in an automobile accident. We are surrounded this day by a great company of saints, including Dr. Muhlenberg and Dr. Shetler.
This Mühlenberg Family Bible is a Martin Luther translation printed in Nuremberg in 1768. It includes the Apocrypha as well as the Augsburg Confession and a number of interesting engravings.
Inscribed on the frontispiece are these words:
Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, from his father, F. A. Muhlenberg, 1890, this relic
of his pious Lutheran ancestors, for himself and his heirs.
This remarkable relic of the past, I cheerfully give to my nephew, Hiester H. Muhlenberg, and to his heirs, in secula seculorum. Christmas 1890.
Reading Dec. 25th 1890.
- A. Muhlenberg was the son of Frederick Augustus Mühlenberg, grandson of Gotthilf Henry Ernest Mühlenberg, and great grandson of Henry Melchior Mühlenberg. F. A. Muhlenberg’s wife was Catherine Ann Muhlenberg, the granddaughter of John Peter Gabriel Mühlenberg. F. A. Muhlenberg’s son Henry Melchior Muhlenberg never married.. At Christmas time 1890 Uncle Henry turned over this beloved family Bible to his brother William’s five-year-old son, Hiester Henry Muhlenberg, whose mother, Henrietta Augusta Muhlenberg, also a descendant of Gotthilf Henry, had died earlier that year after the birth of a third child. Hiester Henry Muhlenberg was the father of Dr. John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, the donor of the Bible.
It is not clear from the existing evidence whether the Bible originated with Father Mühlenberg or the scholar or the general. What we do know is that it is altogether fitting that this Mühlenberg Family Bible has found a permanent home in the Mühlenberg Family Home.