Township of Spring History
TOWNHIP OF SPRING ESTABLISHED
In 1850, the Township of Cumru included about 33,000 acres of land. The population numbered about 3,853 making it the most populous district in the county outside of Reading. In area, this was the largest township. In the decade before, two unsuccessful attempts were made to divide Cumru on account of its great extent. In 1850, a third attempt was made.
The petition called for a division line situated to the west of the line requested in previous petitions, beginning at the “Harrisburg Bridge” and extending southward to the Lancaster County lines, at the corner of Brecknock Township, and it was inscribed by only 45 taxable inhabitants of the township. The court appointed Aaron Albright, Richard Boone and Michael K. Boyer as commissioners to inquire into advisability of the proposed division. The commissioners, after viewing Cumru Township, divided it and recommended the western part to be designated as a new township under the name of “Spring”.
The name was derived from a large fresh water spring in the central portion of the area. Because of the limestone fissures under the ground, the spring periodically appeared and disappeared. The early settlers, who used it for their daily water supplies, referred to it as the “Sinking Spring”. The Boundary lines of the township were described as enclosing some 15,000 acres. The report was presented for these boundaries on August 5, 1850. Exceptions were filed, which stated that the division would cut 28 bridges in the Eastern part and only three in the Western, and also cut forty miles more roads in the former than in the latter, but the Court disregarded the force of these exceptions, confirmed the report on November 23, 1850, and formed the new township calling it the Township of Spring.
George Washington traveled through Spring Township twice, on his way to inspect the construction of the Union Canal at Lebanon, in which he was very interested, and also on his way to inspect the city of Reading as a possible site for the Capital. The first time was November 14, 1793, and the second time was on October 2, 1794. During one of these trips he stopped to visit Dr. Palm of Sinking Spring, Spring Township. Here they had a toast of “red eye” and limewater and the men and horses had time to refresh themselves. Dr. Peter Palm was a surgeon on Washington’s staff at the Battle of Brandywine.
The second presidential visit was by Martin Van Buren in a re-election campaign to Reading. He was greeted by Burgess Schoener of Reading, who delivered the welcome address, along with the rest of the committee at the western end of Sinking Spring in Spring Township then continued on to Reading. “As he rode along, his graceful alertness silenced the malcontents along the line of march who hummed as loud as they dared, the insidious refrain, Van, Van, the used up man”.
Some of the earliest settlers in the area were the Welsh, who migrated here from Chester County. They named such townships as Caen arvon, Cumru and Brecknock. Common Welsh names include David, Evans, Hughes, Jones, Lewis, Lloyd, Rettew and Thomas. Their lands were mainly in the area of the Wyomissing and Cacoosing Creeks. It was in these areas that they settled most thickly and formed two Baptist churches, one at Wyomissing and the other at Sinking Spring. Some tracts of land included as much as 20,000 acres. A gristmill was built along the Wyomissing Creek before 1740. Factories produced gun-barrels, files, etc. However, the main occupation was agriculture.
The Germans were another large group included in the early settlers, arriving in the 1700’s. It was this migration that contributed to the basic character of our community.