Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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HELMUTH, Justus Christian Henry, clergyman, born in Helmstadt, Brunswick, Germany, 16 May, 1745; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 5 February, 1825. His father died when the son was a mere boy, but a nobleman sent him to the orphan house in Ihdle, and afterward to the university there, where he received a thorough education in the classics and theology. He was ordained to the ministry at Wernigerode in 1769, and in the same year came to this country in response to an urgent call from Lutheran congregations in Pennsylvania. On his arrival, he was at once elected pastor of the congregation at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for ten years, and in 1779 he removed to Philadelphia in answer to a unanimous call from St. Michael's, the first Lutheran congregation in the city. Here he spent the remainder of his life, serving as pastor until 1820. The University of Pennsylvania conferred upon him the honorary degree of A. M. in 1780, and that of D. D. in 1785. In the same institution he held for eighteen years the chair of German and Oriental languages, and was regarded as one of the best linguistic scholars of his time. In 1785, with his colleague and intimate friend, Dr. Schmidt, he established a private seminary at Philadelphia, for the education of young men for the ministry, which continued for twenty years, until age and pressure of other labors prevented them from attending properly to the work. In this private institution many of the early Lutheran pastors received their theological training. Dr. Helmuth was frequently elected to ecclesiastical offices of honor and trust, and was identified with many of the public institutions of Philadelphia. Though he was partial to the German language, it did not prevent him from taking an interest, in the various activities, educational and religious, of his adopted country. His published works include "Taufe und heilige Schrift" (1793); "Unterhaltungen mit Gott": books for children, and a volume of German hymns. For several years he edited the "Evangelical Magazine," a German periodical of Philadelphia.
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