The Ingersoll/Claytor House- Spring House, PA

Updated: Oct 13, 2021

I was surprised to see a particular building labeled on Google Maps. What threw me off is that the label was "out of place." It was labeled as, "Historic clayton/ingersoll house lower gwynedd twshp." No proper capitalization.

I was thinking, at first, that it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. But when I check the CRGIS website run by the PA Historical and Museum Commission, it wasn't recognized!

It's time to investigate.

I was fortunate enough to find the exact history of this house through the Ambler Gazette

archives, dating back to 1900!

It's unknown who exactly owned this property in the 18th century. Some say it was Robert Evans, one of the 4 Evans brothers who emigrated from England to Gwynedd in 1698. They were one of the early families to settle in Gwynedd.

In 1760, the property was sold to numerous people. 9 years later, Ezekiel Cleaver bought the property.

  • The Cleaver Family

The Cleaver family came from German descent. They didn't actually settle in Gwynedd. The early descendants of the Cleaver family settled in Germantown, and their descendant was Peter Cleaver (1667-1726). Peter came to Germantown after Germantown founder Francis Daniel Pastorius. He was naturalized in 1691, and died in Bristol, Philadelphia, leaving his children behind.

His children came to Upper Dublin where their father purchased 162 acres of land from John Potts in 1721. It wasn't until Ezekiel Cleaver (1729-1785), the grandson of the first Peter Cleaver, came to Gwynedd in 1769.

The Cleaver Family Tree

Ezekiel lived in Gwynedd for 16 years. His son Ellis Cleaver (1758-1829) lived in Gwynedd for 40 years after his father's death. Then his son Ezekiel Cleaver (1795-1863) came along, and took over his father's property of 74 acres for $40/acre. Ezekiel and his wife Martha appeared in the 1850 census data, and it stated that he was a farmer. He and Martha had no children together, but Martha's daughter was raised into the Cleaver family. When he died in 1863, he passed the property to his wife and her daughter Barbara, who married Charles Smith.

Montgomery County 1893, Upper and Lower Gwynedd Townships, Lansdale, North Wales, Spring House, Ambler Right; J. L. Smith, Publisher

Charles Smith owned the property until 1894 when he sold the property to Francis E. Bond, who began the foundation of Gwynedd Mercy College**.

**NOTE: More information about the history of Gwynedd Mercy University will be posted soon! Stay tuned!**

Francis was fascinated with Gwynedd Valley after his sister Adelaide married Stephen Warren Ingersoll. He lived in the Cleaver-Smith home while his mansion was being built where GMC is currently located. Then, he gave the house to his nephew Edward Ingersoll (1884-1918) as a wedding present. The home, which was called "Spring House Farm," is now owned by Lower Gwynedd Township.

Adelaide's home is right below her son's home, which is now gone, unfortunately.

Atlas of the North Penn Section of Montgomery County, Pa., 1916, Plate 25; A. H. Mueller, Publisher
Home of Adelaide Ingersoll, Edward's mother
  • The Ingersoll Family

Adelaide was a lucky woman to marry into a prominent family, but I'm sure it was true love. When I read the word "prominent" in the sentence, it made me think about how famous were the Ingersoll family. Relating to the topic of the Ingersoll-Claytor home, I went back to the family history of the Ingersoll family, and determine if the Ingersoll family played a roll in Lower Gwynedd, or even stepped foot in the township.

So let's dive in!

The Ingersoll family goes WAY back in the 17th century to John Ingersoll, Sr. (1615/1626-1684) who was born in Edworth, Bedfordshire, England. At age 14, John left England to come to America with his brother Richard's family. The family settled in Salem, Massachusetts. After his brother's death, John settled in Hartford, Connecticut. After his marriage, he moved back to Massachusetts.

John had 3 wives. The first two wives died too soon. He married his third wife Mary Hunt in 1667, and had 8 children together.

Nothing is known much about John's son Jonathan Ingersoll (1681-1760), but we do know something about his son Jared Ingersoll, Sr. (1722-1781).

Jared Ingersoll, Sr. (1722-1781)

Jared graduated from Yale University in 1742, and opened a legal practice. In May 1758, he was appointed as an agent for the Connecticut Colony by the colonial legislature at the English court. It was "mainly to negotiate reimbursement for recent expenditures in the French and Indian War." He resigned the position in 1760, and moved back to Connecticut after living in London.

He arrived in Boston in 1765. There, he met Benjamin Franklin, who advised him to accept the position of stamp agent for Connecticut.

When colonial resistance went into chaos after the British began taxing the colonists, Jared tried his best to calm the people down. As a result, the resistance demanded him to resign as a stamp agent. He ended up resigning, but the resistance were still not satisfied. Jared placed himself under protection in order to save his house from attacks. He sought refuge at Hartford, CT, but he was spotted by the resistance on the way there.

In 1771, Jared and his family moved to Philadelphia, and became a Judge of the Court of Vice-Admiralty for the middle colonies, for his "ill treatment" as stamp agent.

In 1777, Jared returned to Connecticut after feeling uncomfortable from the Provincial Council of Pennsylvania.

Jared Ingersoll, Sr. (1749-1822)

Unlike his father, Jared Ingersoll, Jr. (1749-1822) sided with the Revolutionaries. Like his father, he graduated from Yale University in 1766.

Jared, Jr. was advised from his father to sail to London, and study law at the Middle Temple School. He went on a 2-year tour of the European continent. During those years he became friends with Benjamin Franklin in Paris.

Even though he sided with the Revolutionaries, Jared stayed quiet, knowing that he had a strong sense of personal loyalty to his Loyalist father.

After returning to Philadelphia, Jared entered the legal profession. In 1780, he entered into politics, and won the election to the Continental Congress.

He was in favor of the revision of the Articles of Confederation. He rarely spoke at the proceedings.

During his career as a lawyer, he handled the affairs of Stephen Girard, represented the losing side of both the Chisholm v. Georgia (1792) and Hylton v. United States (1796), and represented fellow signer William Blount who was threatened with impeachment.

Charles Jared Ingersoll (1782-1862)

Following his father's footsteps, Charles Jared Ingersoll (1782-1862) went into politics.

Charles was studying at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), but dropped out doing his junior year in 1799.

During his political career he served as...

  • A Democratic-Republican to the 13th Congress (1812)

  • U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania's 1st district (1813-1815)

  • Chairman of the United States House Committee on the Judiciary (1813-1815)

  • United States district attorney for Pennsylvania (1815 to 1829)

  • Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (1830)

  • Member of the State Constitutional Convention (1837)

  • Secretary of the legation to Prussia (1837)

  • A Democrat to the 27th and to the three succeeding Congresses

  • Chairman of the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs during the 28th and 29th Congresses

  • U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania's 3rd district (1841-1843)

  • U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania's 4th district (1843-1849)

Read the letters written to and from Charles Ingersoll:

FUN FACT: As a boy, Charles was schoolmates, and playmates, with Philip Hamilton (Alexander Hamilton's son), Richard Rush (Benjamin Rush's son), and George W.P. Curtis (Martha Washington's grandson) Charles went over to the Hamiltons' in Philly, and was taken by George Curtis to the Presidential residence in Germantown, Philadelphia. Charles was corresponding more with Richard during their political careers. Read Rush's letter to Ingersoll here!

Charles opposed slavery, knowing that slavery was evil. But he did not support the abolition movement. He thought that the movement was harmful, and was served to prevent or delay the success of freeing slaves. He wanted to use the Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery as a model. Read his pamphlet on slavery below!

NOTE: The Ingersoll Family from the 18th-19th century were one of the political families in history!

Charles's son Edward Ingersoll (1817-1893) attended the University of Pennsylvania at age 14, and graduated with the class of 1835. 3 years later he was admitted to the practice of law.

During the early years of the war, Edward was arrested for his use of "free speech," be he was discharged on "habeas corpus." In 1865, he fought back against a mob, and was arrested for it, after being attacked by the Philadelphia Press. He was released on bail.

For the rest of his life he devoted himself to literature. His strong convictions caused him trouble.

The Ingersoll Family Tree
  • Conclusions:

After coming to my conclusions, it turns out the actual name for this property is the "Cleaver-Smith-Bond-Ingersoll" house. But I couldn't figure out where "Clayton" came from. It wasn't until I was informed by my reader that the name "Clayton" was incorrect. The correct name was "Claytor." I began to make sense after I stumbled upon an Ambler Gazette clipping:

Clipping from Ambler Gazette (June 11, 1936): Page 5

Special Thanks to Cassandra Claytor Carroll, the granddaughter of Mary Ingersoll Claytor, for clarifying the Claytor family name.

It turns out that the Ingersoll family didn't really have much involvement in Lower Gwynedd. But we know that the Pennsylvania root began with Jared Ingersoll, Sr. who came to Philadelphia from Boston in the 1770s after facing backlash against the revolutionaries. It was Charles E. Ingersoll who came to Lower Gwynedd, but it was unknown why he came to the area. But we know how Francis E. Bond came to Lower Gwynedd along with his sister Adelaide and her son Edward.

In terms of architecture, it does look like it was built around the 18th century. It has more of a Georgian-style, architectural look: gabled dormers, stone structure, and almost-symmetrical facade. Based on photos, it was altered and added over the past few years by different owners until it went back to its "original" look.

With the barn/stable next to it, it's uncertain if the physical appearance of it was the same as the original appearance.

Google Satellite View: 748 Old Bethlehem Pike Spring House, PA 19477
Google Satellite Birdseye View: Looking North; The home and barn still exist
The Ingersoll house, owned by the Cleaver family for over 125 years
Old photograph of the Ingersoll home (back view)


American Council of Learned Societies. Dictionary of American biography. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1932): 467.

Bond Centennial and Heritage Committee and Marion K. Rosenbaum. Gwynedd-Mercy College. (Charleston; Chicago, Portsmouth, San Francisco: Arcadia Publishing, 2006): 17, 20, 22.

"Claytor--Ingersoll." The Ambler Gazette. June 11, 1936. Page 5.

Cutter, William Richard. Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts, Volume IV. (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1910): 2631-2633.

"Distance Calculator." DaftLogic. Accessed August 15, 2020.

"Edward Ingersoll (1884 - 1918)." WikiTree: The Free Family Tree. Accessed August 15, 2020.

"Geni: A MyHeritage Company." Geni. Accessed August 20, 2020.

Gipson, Lawrence Henry. Jared Ingersoll: A Study of American Loyalism in Relation to British Colonial Government. (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1920).

"Historic Clayton Ingersoll House." Geocaching. Accessed August 20, 2020.

"Historical Records and Person Search." Ancestry. Accessed August 20, 2020.

Jenkins, Howard Malcolm. Historical collections relating to Gwynedd, a township of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, settled, 1696, by immigrants from Wales, with some data referring to the adjoining township, of Montgomery, also settled by Welsh. (Philadelphia: Howard Malcolm Jenkins, 1897): 411-413.

"John Ingersoll Sr." Geni. Accessed August 16, 2020.

"Local History." The Ambler Gazette. September 6, 1900.

Miens, William Montgomery. The Life of Charles Jared Ingersoll. (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1897).

Mueller, A. H. Atlas of the North Penn Section of Montgomery County, Pa., Plate 25, 29, 1916.

North, H. "Tree Planting Event at the Ingersoll-Clayton House." Patch. April 18, 2012.

"The Founding Fathers: Pennsylvania." National Archives. Accessed August 18, 2020.

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