Abraham Clark, Signer, "Declaration of Independence"

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Abraham Clark, I

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Elizabethtown, Essex County, New Jersey, United States
Death: Died in Elizabethtown, Essex County, New Jersey, United States
Cause of death: died from sunstroke at his home
Place of Burial: Rahway Cemetery, Union County, New Jersey, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Clark, II and Hannah Clark
Husband of Sarah Clark
Father of Aaron Clark; Thomas Clark, IV; Hannah Miller; Abraham Clark; Andrew Clark and 8 others

Occupation: Signer, Declaration of Independence; Surveyor, Lawyer, Sheriff, Governor NJ, SIGNER OF DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Surveyor, Clerk to the Colonial Assembly
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Abraham Clark, I

Abraham Clark, 1725-1794, son of Thomas Clark, Jr. (1701-1765) and Hannah Winans (abt. 1705). Married Sarah Hatfield (1728-1804) abt. 1749, Elizabethtown, Essex County, New Jersey, America.

Clark Township, New Jersey, is named in his honor.

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. 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; he 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)

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=2179

Additional biographical information:

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

http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=C000418

http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/signers/clark.htm

http://www.colonialhall.com/clark/clark.php

Genealogical information:

http://www.altlaw.com/edball/html/d0049/i07589.htm

http://users.erols.com/kadekds/Allied2w.html

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ABRAHAM CLARK was born in Elizabethtown, NJ on February 15, 1726 the only child of Thomas Clark, a farmer. He was raised to follow in his father's footsteps, however, because of his slight build and weak fortitude, he was inadequate at the laborious tasks of farming. He turned his attention to surveying, and he conveyed legal advice to landowners on their rights during boundary disputes. Many believed that he did not have a law degree and that he studied law on his own. However, as he gave his advice gratuitously, he was known as "the poor man's counselor". His sharp comments on the pretensions of lawyers won him enemies but also gained him approval from his fellow citizens, and he became a champion for their rights.

Clark's love of study and the generosity of his character rendered him very popular. His opinion was valued, and often sought even beyond Elizabethtown. In 1749, Clark married Sarah Hatfield, who was very enterprising. Sarah ran the family farm and reared their ten children, allowing Clark to enter into public life. He was called to fill various offices, first as a country sheriff and clerk of the assembly, where he gained valuable political experience.

Clark was all for independence, having formed his opinion on the great question very early in the revolution. He was appointed to the committee of public safety and some time after was elected by the provincial congress. Because of his enthusiasm for independence, he was sent to Congress on June 22, 1776, to vote in favor of it. Clark new full well that fortune and individual safety were at stake, however personal considerations did not influence his decision. He voted for the declaration of independence and affixed his name to the document with firm determination to meet the consequences of his noble but dangerous action.

In November 1776 he was elected to the Continental congress, and was continuously re-elected until 1783 with the exception of one year, 1779. Two of Clark's sons were officers in the army during the Revolutionary War. Unfortunately the British captured them, and they were at one point confined to the notorious prison ship, Jersey, where they endured extreme suffering. Clark scrupulously avoided calling the attention of congress to the condition of his sons, as painful as it personally was, but he did make a single exception. One of his sons, a captain of the artillery, had been cast into a dungeon, where he received no food other than that which was forced through a keyhole for him by his fellow prisoners. Clark conveyed these facts to Congress, which immediately directed a course of retaliation against the British Officer. Captain Clark's condition was promptly improved.

Clark was a member of the New Jersey legislature from 1782 until 1787, and while holding that office acquired great influence and was responsible for all the important measures passed during his term of service. Clark attracted the respect and admiration of the community, by his punctuality, his integrity and his perseverance. He was a delegate to the convention that framed the Federal constitution in 1787 and in 1789 was appointed a commissioner to settle the accounts of New Jersey with the United States. Later he became a member of the United States Congress, serving from October 24, 1791.

On the adjournment of congress in June 1794, Clark finally retired from public life. However, he did not live long enough to enjoy even the limited comforts he possessed. On September 15, 1794, Clark suffered sunstroke and was dead within two hours.

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Hon Abraham Clark The Signer Signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Hatfield's History, pp 586-588:

"Having received a good education for the times, Mr. Clark entered into business as a surveyor and conveyancer. He made himself familiar with the common points of law, and was ever ready to aid his neighbors with legal advice gratuitously; and so obtained the name of "The Poor Man's Counsellor." He held the office of High Sheriff of Essex Co., in 1767, and of Clerk to the Colonial Assembly; he was a member of the Committee of Safety in Dec. 1774, and subsequently their secretary; he was chosen to the Provincial Congress, in September, 1775, and was elected by them, June 22, 1776, one of the Delegates from New Jersey to the Continental Congress, in which capacity he hadthe honor of affixing his name to the Declaration of Independence.

He was rechosen to Congress, in 1776, and in 1777, serving until April 3, 1778: again in 1780, 1781, 1782, 1786, 1787 & 1788. He was appointed to the first Constitutional Convention at Annapolis, in 1786; and again, in 1787, but did not attend the latter, on account of ill health. He was chosen, by the people, under the new Consstitution, to the second and third Congresses, and died before the completion of his last term. During his long public career, he proved himself the incorruptible patriot, an active and judicious legislator, a prudent counselor, and a true friend of the people.

His death was occasioned by a coup de soleil, a stroke of the sun, which he survived but two hours. Great respect was shown for his memory on the occasion of his funeral. He remains were deposited in the burying-ground of the Presbyterian church of Rahway. A stone, with the following inscription, marked the spot:

'In memory of ABRAHAM CLARK, Esq., who died Sept. 15th, 1794, in the 69th year of his age. | Firm and decided as a patriot, | Zealous and faithful as a friend ot the public, | He loved his country, | And adhered to her cause, | In the darkest hours of her struggles | Against oppression.'

...

He had long been a member of the First Presbyterian church of this town [Elizabethtown], and was one of its Trustees from 1786 to 1790. ..." Abraham was born at Roselle, Essex, New Jersey, USA, on 15 February 1726.3,2 He was the son of Thomas Clark and Hannah Winans. He married Sarah Hatfield in 1748.4,2 Abraham died on 15 September 1794 at his farm at age 68.5,6 His body was interred at Rahway, Union, New Jersey, USA, at Presbyterian Burying Grounds.5 Family Sarah Hatfield b. 1728, d. 2 Jun 1804 Children Aaron Clark Thomas Clark Abraham Clark Hannah Clark Andrew Clark Sarah Clark Cavalier Clark Elizabeth Clark Abraham Clark (2) Mary Clark Abigail Clark Citations [S158] W O Wheeler, Ogden Family in America (Elizabethtown branch) & their Eng. anc. John Ogden, the Pilgrim, & his desc., 1640-1906; their hist., biogr. & gen. [S674] Della Gray Barthelmas, The Signers of the Declaration of Independence: A Biographical and Genealogical Reference. [S487] DD Rev Edwin F Hatfield, History of Elizabeth, New Jersey; including the Early History of Union County, p 586: "Abraham was his only son, and was born, at the homestead, February 15, 1726." It appears, from the surrounding passage, that the homestead was "on the upper or western road, about mid-way between Elizabeth Town village and Rahway, about half a mile north, by west, of the Wheatsheaf tavern." This was his grandfather Thomas's place, at any rate. [S487] DD Rev Edwin F Hatfield, History of Elizabeth, New Jersey; including the Early History of Union County, p 588. [S487] DD Rev Edwin F Hatfield, History of Elizabeth, New Jersey; including the Early History of Union County, p 587. [S674] Della Gray Barthelmas, The Signers of the Declaration of Independence: A Biographical and Genealogical Reference, p 49. -------------------- Signer of Declaration of Independence: http://www.dsdi1776.com/Signers/Abraham%20Clark.html

===========================================

Birth: Feb. 15, 1726 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)


Family links:

Parents:
 Thomas Clark (____ - 1765)
 Hannah Winans Clarke (1705 - ____)

Spouse:
 Sarah Hatfield Clark (1728 - 1804)*

Children:
 Aaron Clark (1750 - 1811)*
 Thomas Clark (1752 - 1789)*
 Andrew Clark (1759 - 1778)*
 Sarah Clark Edgar (1761 - 1817)*
 Abraham Clark (1767 - 1854)*
  • Calculated relationship

Burial: Rahway Cemetery Rahway Union County New Jersey, USA


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Maintained by: Find A Grave Record added: Jan 01, 2001 Find A Grave Memorial# 2179 http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=2179

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Abraham Clark, Signer, "Declaration of Independence"'s Timeline

1725
February 15, 1725
Essex County, New Jersey, United States
1748
1748
Age 22
New York, United States
1750
1750
Age 24
Elizabethtown, Essex, New Jersey, United States
1753
1753
Age 27
New Jersey, United States
1755
1755
Age 29
1755
Age 29
1757
1757
Age 31
1761
1761
Age 35
Elizabethtown, Essex Co., New Jersey, United States
1761
Age 35
Elizabethtown, Essex Co., New Jersey, United States
1763
1763
Age 37