History of the Watershed
Aquetong Lake and Ingham Spring
Ingham Spring is the largest spring in southeastern Pennsylvania; it produces over 2 million gallons every day.
Tribes of the Unami Lenape nations were the earliest known inhabitants of the area, calling their village Achewetonk, “the spring among the bushes,” from which today’s Aquetong is derived. In 1682, William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, acquired this land under terms of the Great Treaty. In 1701, Penn deeded the property to his trusted secretary and friend James Logan. On this land was the Great Spring, a much prized resource for the settlers and one that Logan could have identified in his many travels. In 1701, Penn deeded the property to his trusted secretary and friend James Logan. Logan created “Loganian Rights” which held that anyone using the spring water for mill purposes was required to pay a tax. These rights were in effect until the 1930s.
In 1737, Logan sold the property to Jonas Ingham, an English immigrant. Jonas built a mill pond below the spring, which later was enlarged to create Aquetong Lake. His son Jonathan inherited the spring. During the Revolution, the spring was used by Washington’s troops as they amassed prior to the crossing of the Delaware River in 1776 to attack the Hessians in Trenton. During this time, the spring acquired its present day name, Ingham Spring.
Upon Jonathan’s death in 1793 from smallpox in Philadelphia, his son Samuel inherited the spring. Samuel is a notable figure in both Pennsylvania and US history. He was a builder of the Delaware Canal and the first bridge to cross the Delaware River to New Jersey. After service in the US House of Representatives, Ingham served as President Andrew Jackson’s first Secretary of Treasury. He resigned in 1830, and turned down an offer to become minister to Russia.
At Samuel’s death in 1860, the estate began to be sold off in smaller pieces. Ingham Spring was sold to Horatio Nelson Beaumont and a portion (now called the ‘Deer Park’ section) was sold to his brother Andrew Jackson Beaumont. By 1867, the spring and the surrounding property were sold to Dr. V. Mattison. In 1870, a dam was built at the east end of the property, creating Aquetong Lake. Shortly thereafter, a large fish hatchery was built at the site. The Thompson and Tagg Hatchery (‘T&T Hatchery’) eventually contained over 100,000 shad, 60,000 brook trout and smaller numbers of Terrapin turtles. The public could view the operation by paying a 25 cent entrance fee.
In 1936, Dr. Perry Bond and his wife Helen purchased the property. At this time, the property had fallen into a state of disrepair. Over the next four decades, the Bonds restored the property, preserved the lake and built a residence. In 1975, the property was sold to Helen Bond’s brother, Dr. Judy. In 1993, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) acquired the property. In 2009, Solebury Township acquired Ingham Lake and the surrounding property to create a park and environmental education center. The PFBC has retained ownership of the spring.