Abraham Clark was a famous American politician and a Revolutionary War figure. He served as delegate in the Continental Congress at New Jersey and was also a part of the historic moment of signing the declaration of Independence for independent states. He was later appointed as a representative in the United States House of Representatives and served this position until his death in 1794.
Early Life & Career
Abraham Clark was born into a farming community in Elizabethtown, New Jersey. His father, Thomas Clark, realized that his son had an aptitude for math and appointed a tutor to teach him ‘surveying’. While working as a surveyor, Clark taught himself to study law and became quite popular in his district. He start practicing law and eventually came to be known as the ‘poor man’s lawyer’, where he offered aid to farmers and penurious individuals who could not afford lawyers at the time.
Clark married Sarah Hatfield in 1748, and together, the duo had 10 children, whom they raised on the farm. As his career began to ascend, Clark was appointed as a clerk of the Provincial Assembly, which was the first step towards his political career. He was then accorded a place as High Sheriff of the Essex County, following which he entered a new committee, ‘The Committee of Public Safety’. In 1776, the New Jersey delegation to the Continental Congress faced opposition from Great Britain for separate independence for states. Clark was very vocal with his opinion and the council appointed him along with a few other delegates such as John Hart and John Witherspoon to fight for the declaration. Together, the delegates warded off British opposition and signed the declaration of Independence for independent states, which was a historic milestone at the time.
Clark remained as a member of the Continental Congress until 1778 and then later, shifted to the New Jersey Legislative Council. He stayed with this council till the final years of his life. In 1794, Abraham Clark retired in front of the state’s Constitutional Convention and was deemed a hero for his political services to the public.
Abraham Clark passed away on September 15, 1794 of sunstroke and was interred at Rahway Cemetery in New Jersey.
Awards And Achievements
Abraham Clark was a delegate to the New Jersey Continental Congress and during this time, he signed the all-important, ‘Declaration of Independence’ for their respective colonies. This was one of his greatest achievements of all time. He was elected as a member of the prestigious, United States House of Representatives and was also a member of the Continental Congress till his death.
Abraham Clark was an important political figure in the 18th century and following his death, the Clark Township in Union County was named after him. Another important institute, the Abraham Clark High School in Roselle, is also named after him for his outstanding efforts in his political career.
Following Abraham Clark’s death, he was succeeded by Aaron Kitchell in the United States House of Representatives in 1795.
When Abraham Clark became a member of the Continental Congress, his opinion for separate colonies, along with the opinions of other famous personalities he was associated with, enabled the success of the ‘Declaration of Independence’. Some of his famous associations were with John Hart, a New Jersey politician, Francis Hopkinson, an American author, Richard Stockton, a congressman and John Witherspoon, a minster and signatory.
As a signer of the ‘Declaration of Independence’, Abraham Clark, along with the other dignitaries who co-signed the declaration, enabled the division and the independence of several colonies in the United States of America. This most certainly, brought about a positive change in the lives of thousands who were relieved after the declaration was successful in implementation.
Two of Abraham Clark’s sons, were both with the Continental Army. However, the sons were captured, beaten up and were subject to brutality until Clark decided to intervene and appealed for leniency for one of his sons, who was particularly tortured on an English ship. The son’s conditions eventually improved after the Congress pleaded with the British for clemency.
1726: Abraham Clark was born on February 15th in Elizabethtown, New Jersey.
1748: He married Sarah Hatfield, with whom he had 10 children.
1775: He was elected to the Provincial Congress.
1776: Clark was appointed to sign the ‘Declaration of Independence’ along with other dignitaries on June 28th.
1778: He was elected as Essex County’s Member of the New Jersey Legislative council—a post he retained till his death.
1794: Clark retired before the Constitutional Convention. He passed away of a sunstroke, aged 68, on September 15th the same year.