Sarah Hatfield Clark
Wife of Abraham Clark, Signer of the Declaration of Independence
1728 – 1804 A.D.
Sarah Hatfield, was the eldest daughter of Isaac Hatfield of Elizabethtown, N.J., and was born in 1728. She was a sister of Elder Isaac Hatfield and a first cousin of Mrs. Robert Ogden, mother of General Matias Ogden and Governor Aaron Ogden. Further than this but little has come down to us of her family except that the Hatfields were well-to-do and respectable people of Essex County.
She was twenty-one years old when she was married Abraham Clark, a young farmer who had studied surveying which he practised [sic] along with looking after his farm. He also made some study of law though never admitted to the bar and was known as “the poor man’s lawyer,” because of his ready advice to his neighbours [sic] who were not able to carry their troubles to higher priced counsellors [sic]. Under the Colonial government Clark held the offices of Sheriff of Essex County and Clerk of the Assembly, and from his prominence in the northern part of the colony as well as his known sympathy with the movement was sent as a delegate to the Continental Congress that enacted the Declaration of Independence, and continued a member of that body for many years.
Sarah Clark was not called upon to bear some of the burdens that fell to the lot of Annis Stockton or Deborah Hart, as her home was not in the path of the invading army, but two of her sons who were officers in the Continental army were captured by the British and imprisoned in New York. Because of the activity of the father, the sons were most inhumanly treated. Thomas Clark, the eldest son, a captain of artillery was at one time immured in a dungeon without food for days, except that his fellow prisoners were able to pass it to him through a keyhole. The second son, Isaac, suffered terribly from the rigours [sic] of his confinement. It was not until this was reported in Congress and measures taken to retaliate upon two British captains, held by the Americans, that the treatment of the Clarks was mitigated and their exchange brought about.
Abraham Clark died of sunstroke at Rahway in 1794, and his wife survived him about ten years. Both are buried at Rahway.
Reference: The Pioneer Mothers of America: A Record of the More Notable Women of the Early Days of the Country, and Particularly of the Colonial and Revolutionary Periods by Harry Clinton Green and Mary Wolcott Green, A.B. Third Volume, Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.