Clark, Abraham, 1726-1794

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Abraham Clark (February 15, 1726 – September 15, 1794) was an American Founding Father, politician, slave owner, and Revolutionary War figure. He was a 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 born in Elizabethtown in the Province of 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 who could not afford a lawyer. Clark 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 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. 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, more than many of his contemporaries, was a proponent of democracy and the common man, supporting especially the societal roles of farmers and mechanics.

Clark retired before the state's Constitutional Convention in 1794 and died from sunstroke at his home in Rahway, New Jersey. He was buried at Rahway Cemetery.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866. Jared Sparks collection of American manuscripts, 1582-1843 Houghton Library
creatorOf Franklin, William, 1731-1813. William Franklin papers, 1756-1813. New Jersey Historical Society Library
creatorOf Clark, Abraham, 1726-1794. Statement of expenses, 1791 Oct. 22-24, Trenton, N.J. Rosenbach Museum & Library
referencedIn Thomas Addis Emmet collection, 1483-1876 (bulk:1700-1800) New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Clark, Abraham, 1726-1794. Abraham Clark letter to Colonel Elias Dayton, 1776 July 4. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Clark, Abraham, 1726-1794. Autograph letter signed : Elizabeth Town, to Hon. Jon. Dayton, 1790 Nov. 15. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Clark, Abraham, 1726-1794. Autograph certificate, 1776 April 22. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Bamberger, Louis, 1855-1944,. Autograph collection, 1683-1929. New Jersey Historical Society Library
creatorOf Clark, Abraham, 1726-1794. Abraham Clark letter to Colonel Elias Dayton [manuscript], 1776 July 4. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Clark, Abraham, 1726-1794. ALS, 1778 June 1, near Springfield, N.J., to John Hart, Princeton, N.J. Rosenbach Museum & Library
referencedIn United States. Continental Congress. Oath, 1780 Jan. 24-Dec. 8. Rosenbach Museum & Library
referencedIn Parker, James, 1725-1797. New Jersey manuscripts, 1669-1840. New Jersey Historical Society Library
creatorOf Clark, Abraham, 1726-1794. Autograph document signed, [n.d.]. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Frederick M. Dearborn collection of military and political Americana, Part I: The Revolution and the Administration, 1669-1958. Houghton Library
referencedIn Statesman autograph collection, 1680-1965. New Jersey Historical Society Library
creatorOf Clark, Abraham, 1726-1794. Legal document, 1769 April 4-1771 July 25. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Colesar, Rebecca Bisbee. Abraham Clark, the Signer / compiled by R. Cordelia Bisbee. New Jersey State Library
creatorOf Clark, Abraham, 1726-1794. MsS, [n.d.]. Copley Press, J S Copley Library
creatorOf Abraham Clark letter to William Griffith and legal document, 1765 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Rosenbach, A. S. W. (Abraham Simon Wolf), 1876-1952,. Signers of the Declaration of Independence autograph collection, 1756-1818. Rosenbach Museum & Library
referencedIn Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866. Collection of documents concerning the American Revolution, 1740-1866 Houghton Library
creatorOf New Jersey Historical Society. Miscellaneous manuscripts, 1664-1956 New Jersey Historical Society Library
creatorOf New Jersey. Committee of Safety. Warrant : New Brunswick, N.J., in favor of Joseph Holmes, 1776 Apr. 20. Rosenbach Museum & Library
referencedIn Letters and documents of signers of the Declaration of Independence, 1750-1933. Houghton Library
creatorOf Clark, Abraham, 1726-1794. ALS, 1791 Oct. 31, Philadelphia, Pa., to Thomas Lowry, Trenton, N.J. Rosenbach Museum & Library
creatorOf Livingston, William, 1723-1790. William Livingston family papers, 1695-1788. Massachusetts Historical Society
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Albert H. Small Declaration of Independence Collection (University of Virginia) corporateBody
associatedWith Bamberger, Louis, 1855-1944, person
associatedWith Bonnell, Benjamin. person
associatedWith Caldwell, James, 1734-1781. person
associatedWith Clark, Aaron. person
associatedWith Clawson, John. person
associatedWith Colesar, Rebecca Bisbee. person
associatedWith Cook, Ellis, person
associatedWith Crane, Jacob. person
associatedWith Dayton, Elias, 1737-1807, person
associatedWith Dayton, Jonathan, 1760-1824, person
associatedWith Dearborn, Frederick M. (Frederick Myers), b. 1876 person
associatedWith Emmet, Thomas Addis person
associatedWith Franklin, William, 1731-1813. person
associatedWith Hart, John, 1711?-1779. person
associatedWith Howe, William Howe, Viscount, 1729-1814. person
associatedWith Hubbard, John, collector. person
associatedWith Lloyd, Bateman, person
associatedWith Lowry, Thomas. person
associatedWith Marsh, Daniel, fl. 1791, person
associatedWith New Jersey. Committee of Safety. corporateBody
associatedWith New Jersey. Militia corporateBody
associatedWith Peirson, William. person
associatedWith Rosenbach, A. S. W. (Abraham Simon Wolf), 1876-1952, person
associatedWith Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866 person
associatedWith Sprague, William B. (William Buell), 1795-1876. person
memberOf United States. Congress. House person
associatedWith United States. Continental Army corporateBody
memberOf United States. Continental Congress. corporateBody
associatedWith Vroom, Peter D. (Peter Dumont), 1745-1831, person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Essex County NJ US
Rahway NJ US
Elizabeth NJ US
Subject
Canadian Invasion, 1775-1776
Occupation
County Government Official
Delegates, U.S. Continental Congress
Lawyers
Representatives, U.S. Congress
Surveyors
Activity

Person

Birth 1726-02-15

Death 1794-09-15

Male

Britons,

Americans

English

Information

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