James Wilson is one of the most outstanding American Founding Fathers that few are familiar with. He not only signed the Declaration, but was also highly influential in the creation of the United States Constitution. Moreover, President George Washington appointed Wilson as a justice on the first bench of the US Supreme Court.
Wilson after signing the Declaration of Independence, successfully defended 23 residents of Philadelphia from forced exile and property seizure following British withdrawal from the city.
Not long after however, a drunken riot of Philadelphia radicals besieged Wilson’s home, where he and 35 compatriots barricaded themselves, dubbing their stronghold, “Fort Wilson.” Local Continental Army units broke up the riot, extricating Wilson and company.
Trained as a surveyor, Abraham Clark switched to law, teaching himself while still working as a surveyor. Once he went into practice, Clark was well known for defending cases of the poor who otherwise could not afford council.
Of the ten children Abraham Clark had with his wife, two sons serving in the Continental Army were captured by the British, tortured and beaten.
One son, a captain in the Continental Army, was placed onboard the notorious British prison ship HMS Jersey. Jersey was known for keeping between 1,000 and 1,200 prisoners captive at any given time; quickly developing a reputation as hell on earth.
Captain Clark was thrown in a dungeon, was rarely fed, and only so much as fit through his cell’s keyhole. The British offered Abraham Clark his son’s life and freedom, if Clark would recant his support for colonial Independence.