Frederick Muhlenberg was one of the most influential Germans in colonial Pennsylvania and later the early United States. The second son of Lutheran patriarch Henry Melchior Muhlenberg and Anna Maria Weiser, Frederick was educated in Halle, Duchy of Magdeburg, but returned from Europe to become a Lutheran minister. However, he left the ministry to pursue a dual career in politics and business. During the 1780s he operated a general store adjacent to his house in Trappe. Following the death of his father-in-law – David Schaeffer Sr., a sugar refiner – Frederick went into the sugar refining business. Frederick amassed significant wealth, political influence, and social prominence. From 1790 to 1797, he was also president of the German Society of Pennsylvania. His untimely death in 1801, at the age of only fifty-one, was a severe loss to the Pennsylvania German community.