Clark Abraham

Abraham Clark (1726–1794), husband of 1st cousin 1x removed of wife of 6th g-grand uncle

[My relationship to Abraham Clark is not close, but I include him because my Hetfield cousins may be interested in their relationship by marriage through Sarah Hatfield[1] (1728-1804).]

Abraham Clark (1726-1794), signer of the Declaration of Indepence of 4 Jul 1776

Abraham Clark (1726-1794), signer of the Declaration of Indepence of 4 Jul 1776

Abraham Clark 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 in 1748, and together they had 10 children.   He entered 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 also 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 21 Jun  1776, they appointed him, along with John Hart, Francis Hopkinson, Richard Stockton and John Witherspoon as new delegates.  They arrived in Philadelphia on 28 Jun 1776, and signed the Declaration of Independence in early July.  In exchange for his support of the cause of Independence, 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 the prison ship Jersey in New York harbor.  Congress was appalled and made a case to the British, and his conditions were improved.  The British offered to release his son if Clark would abandon the American cause, but Clark refused to betray his country and his principles.

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 1780-83 and from 1786-88.  Clark retired before the state’s Constitutional Convention in 1794.  He died from sunstroke at his home.

Abraham Clark grave marker (inscription), Presbyterian Cemetery, Rahway, New Jersey

Abraham Clark grave marker (inscription), Presbyterian Cemetery, Rahway, New Jersey

Clark Township in Union County is named for him, as is Abraham Clark High School in Roselle.  Abraham Clark and his wife, Sarah (Hatfield) Clark are buried at the Rahway Cemetery in Rahway, New Jersey.  A marble slab marks the spot, and the following inscription upon it records the distinguished traits of his character:

Firm and decided as a patriot,

zealous and faithful as a friend to the public,

he loved his country,

and adhered to her cause

in the darkest hours of her struggles

against oppression.

Abraham Clark (1726 – 1794), husband of 1st cousin 1x removed of wife of 6th g-grand uncle – Sarah Hatfield (1728 – 1804) – Isaac Hatfield (1695 – 1762) – Isaac Hatfield (1667 – 1709) – Matthias Hatfield (1640 – 1687) – Cornelius Hatfield (1669 – 1718) – Mary Rachel Hatfield (1704 – 1794) – George Badgley (1693 – 1759) – Anthony Badgley (1660 – 1715) – James Badgley (1699 – 1777) – Robert Badgley (1740 – 1783) – Rachael Badgley (1770 – 1843) – Benjamin Utter Watkins (1811 – 1890) – William Benson Watkins (1836 – 1898) – Paul Watkins (1864 – 1931) – Florence Eugenie Watkins (1903 – 1985) – Penelope Jane Walholm (1939 – ) – Tor Martin (Majerus) Hylbom

 


[1] Abraham Clark (1726 – 1794), husband of 2nd cousin 8x removed – Sarah Hatfield (1728 – 1804) – Isaac Hatfield (1695 – 1762) – Isaac Hatfield (1667 – 1709) – Matthias Hatfield (1640 – 1687) – Abraham Hatfield (1670 – 1706) – “Deacon” Matthias Hatfield (1699 – 1779) – Matthias Hatfield (1725 – 1800) – Zopher Hetfield (1760 – 1837) – Isaac Hetfield (1786 – 1860) – Levi Hetfield (1817 – 1895) – Walter Levi Hetfield (1856 – 1917) – Walter Levi Hetfield II (1879 – 1940) – Walter Levi Hetfield III (1906 – 1991) – Walter Hetfield IV (1934 – 1977) – my Hetfield 1st cousins

Walter Hetfield, 2nd cousin 8x removed to Sarah Hatfield (photo taken 29 Nov 2013, Rahway, New Jersey)

Walter Hetfield, 2nd cousin 8x removed to Sarah Hatfield (photo taken 29 Nov 2013, Rahway, New Jersey)

 

(435)

Your comments are welcome. Keep in mind, however, all comments are moderated, and please no off-topic links.