Abraham Clark

Abraham Clark (1726 - 1794)

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Abraham Clark
Born in Elizabeth, Essex, Colony of New Jerseymap
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[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died in Elizabeth, Essex, New Jersey, United Statesmap
Profile manager: Drew Meeks private message [send private message]
Profile last modified | Created 21 Feb 2012 | Last significant change: 27 Jan 2019
16:39: Kay (Johnson) Wilson edited the Birth Place for Abraham Clark (1726-1794). (remove "British Colonial America" from location) [Thank Kay for this]
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Categories: New Jersey, American Revolution | American Founding Fathers | Signers of the United States Declaration of Independence.

Abraham Clark served New Jersey during the American Revolution
Service started:
Unit(s):
Service ended:

Contents

Biography

Abraham Clark (February 15, 1726 – September 15, 1794) was an American politician and Revolutionary War figure. He was delegate for New Jersey to the Continental Congress where he signed the Declaration of Independence and later served in the United States House of Representatives in both the Second and Third United States Congress, from March 4, 1791, until his death in 1794. Clark was one of only twelve men including Alexander Hamilton, John Dickinson, Edmund Randolph, and James Madison Jr., who attended the Annapolis Convention of 1786 to discuss remedies to the federal government.

Abraham was born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey. His father, Thomas Clark, realized that he had a natural grasp for math so he hired a tutor to teach Abraham surveying. While working as a surveyor, he taught himself law and went into practice. He became quite popular and became known as "the poor man's councilor" as he offered to defend poor men when they couldn't afford a lawyer.

Clark married Sarah Hatfield in 1748, with whom he had 10 children. While Hatfield raised the children on their farm, Clark was able to enter politics as a clerk of the Provincial Assembly. Later he became High Sheriff of Essex County and in 1775 was elected to the Provincial Congress. He was a member of the Committee of Public Safety.

Early in 1776, the New Jersey delegation to the Continental Congress was opposed to independence from Great Britain. As the issue heated up, the state convention replaced all their delegates with those favoring the separation. Because Clark was highly vocal on his opinion that the colonies should have their independence, on June 21, 1776, they appointed him, along with John Hart, Francis Hopkinson, Richard Stockton, and John Witherspoon as new delegates. They arrived in Philadelphia on June 28, 1776, and signed the Declaration of Independence in early July.

Two of Clark's sons were officers in the Continental Army. He refused to speak of them in Congress, even when they both were captured, tortured, and beaten. However, there was one instance when Clark did bring them up and that was when one of his sons was put on the prison ship, Jersey, notorious for its brutality. Captain Clark was thrown in a dungeon and given no food except that which was shoved through a keyhole. Congress was appalled and made a case to the British and his conditions were improved. The British offered Abraham Clark the lives of his sons if he would only recant his signing and support of the Declaration of Independence, he refused.[citation needed]

Clark remained in the Continental Congress through 1778, when he was elected as Essex County's Member of the New Jersey Legislative Council. New Jersey returned him twice more, from 1780 to 1783 and from 1786 to 1788. Clark retired before the state's Constitutional Convention in 1794. He died from sunstroke at his home.

:: Type: Accomplishment

Date: 4 JUL 1776
Place: Philadelphia, PA

Record ID Number

Record ID Number: MH:I130

User ID

User ID: 323HJLFP-20B0-734F-H0BB-H0BB2B324PFX
  • Fact: Burial (September 1794) Rahway Cemetery, Rahway, Essex, New Jersey, United States

New Jersey, USA Death: Sep. 15, 1794 New Jersey, USA

Declaration of Independence Signer.

Born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, he was the son of a farmer, and grew up with an affinity for the common person. Too sickly to do heavy farm labor, he learned to become a surveyor, surveying land boundaries, and would later put that experience to work when he became a lawyer. He was called the "Poor Man's Counselor" because of his defense of poor farmers in land cases, where he worked for little or no fees. About 1749, he married Sarah Hatfield, with whom he would have ten children. He soon became popular with people of less means; like them, he detested people who were rich and powerful and controlled most affairs in colonial America. From 1752 to 1766, he served as a clerk of the New Jersey colonial Legislature. When the struggle with Great Britain became intense, he quickly sided with the rebels who wanted independence. He was elected to serve in the Second Continental Congress, where he voted for independence. In exchange for his support, few of the signers suffered as much as he would. The British captured his home and set it on fire. When the British captured one of his sons and imprisoned him on a prison ship in New York harbor, they offered to release him if Clark would abandon the American cause; refused to betray his country and his principles, even if it meant the death of his son. After the war, he was elected to the United States Congress, and would constantly represent the common people. When it was suggested that American currency show the head of the current American President, he responded that our nation's coins should display the word "Liberty" along with designs typical of our country, and Congress soon voted to adopt Clark's proposal. He died in 1794 at the age of 68. These words are inscribed on his tombstone: "He loved his country and adhered to her cause, in the darkest hours of her struggles against oppression." (bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson)

Abraham Clark (February 15, 1726 – September 15, 1794) was an American politician and Revolutionary War figure. He was delegate for New Jersey to the Continental Congress where he signed the Declaration of Independence and later served in the United States House of Representatives in both the Second and Third United States Congress, from March 4, 1791, until his death in 1794.

Abraham was born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey. His father, Thomas Clark, realized that he had a natural grasp for math so he hired a tutor to teach Abraham surveying. While working as a surveyor, he taught himself law and went into practice. He became quite popular and became known as "the poor man's councilor" as he offered to defend poor men when they couldn't afford a lawyer.

Clark married Sarah Hatfield circa 1749, with whom he had 10 children. While Hatfield raised the children on their farm, Clark was able to enter politics as a clerk of the Provincial Assembly. Later he became High Sheriff of Essex County and in 1775 was elected to the Provincial Congress. He was a member of the Committee of Public Safety.

Early in 1776, the New Jersey delegation to the Continental Congress was opposed to independence from Great Britain. As the issue heated up, the state convention replaced all their delegates with those favoring the separation. Because Clark was highly vocal on his opinion that the colonies should have their independence, on June 21, 1776, they appointed him, along with John Hart, Francis Hopkinson, Richard Stockton, and John Witherspoon as new delegates. They arrived in Philadelphia on June 28, 1776, and voted for the Declaration of Independence in early July.

Two of Clark's sons were officers in the Continental Army. He refused to speak of them in Congress, even when they both were captured, tortured, and beaten. However, there was one instance when Clark did bring them up and that was when one of his sons was put on the prison ship, Jersey, notorious for its brutality. Captain Clark was thrown in a dungeon and given no food except that which was shoved through a keyhole. Congress was appalled and made a case to the British and his conditions were improved. The British offered Abraham Clark the lives of his sons if he would only recant his signing and support of the Declaration of Independence, he refused.

Clark remained in the Continental Congress through 1778, when he was elected as Essex County's Member of the New Jersey Legislative Council. New Jersey returned him twice more, from 1780 to 1783 and from 1786 to 1788. Clark was one of New Jersey's three representatives at the aborted Annapolis Convention of 1786, along with William C. Houston and James Schureman.[4] In an October 12, 1804 letter to Noah Webster, James Madison recalled that Clark was the Annapolis delegate who formally motioned for the Constitutional Convention, because New Jersey's instructions allowed for consideration of non-commercial matters.

Clark, more than many of his contemporaries, was a proponent of democracy and the common man, supporting especially the societal roles of farmers and mechanics. Because of their emphasis on production, Clark saw these occupations as the lifeblood of a virtuous society, and he decried the creditor status of more elite men, usually lawyers, ministers, physicians, and merchants, as an aristocratic threat to the future of republican government. Unlike many founding fathers, who demanded deference to elected officials, Clark encouraged constituents to petition their representatives when they deemed change necessary. In May 1786, Clark, aided by thousands of petitions in the preceding months, pushed a pro-debtor paper money bill through the New Jersey legislature. To garner support for the paper money bill and espouse his populist vision for New Jersey's future, Clark, under the pseudonym "A Fellow Citizen," published a forty-page pamphlet entitled The True Policy of New-Jersey, Defined; or, Our Great Strength led to Exertion, in the Improvement of Agriculture and Manufactures, by Altering the Mode of Taxation, and by the Emission of Money on Loan, in IX Sections in February 1786.

Clark retired before the state's Constitutional Convention in 1794. He died from sunstroke at his home.

Clark Township in Union County is named for him, as is Abraham Clark High School in Roselle.

A resident of Rahway, New Jersey, Clark is buried there at the Rahway Cemetery. His wife Hannah by his side and their son Captain Thomas Clark was laid to rest beside them.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Clark


Sources


Abraham Clark ... [1]

Acknowledgments

Thank you to Steven O'Hara for creating Clark-13990 on 12 Sep 13. Click the Changes tab for the details on contributions by Steven and others.



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Images: 2
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Signing the Declaration of Independence
Signing the Declaration of Independence

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On 19 Jan 2019 at 05:32 GMT John Appleby wrote:

I removed Jeremiah from this tree because I do not believe he belongs here. He was the son of Lieut. Jeremiah Clark b. 1738, died 3 December 1797



Abraham is 30 degrees from Jelena Eckstädt, 10 degrees from Theodore Roosevelt and 16 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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