Current Issue Patch. Fully embroidered, full size colored patch. Welaka is a town situated on the St. Johns River in Putnam County about 90 miles south of Jacksonville. The settlement was originally a 500 acre tract purchased by James William Bryant on July 6, 1852 and was originally known as Mt. Tucker. Prior to the war, there were large orange groves and cotton plantations. In 1860, Welaka's population was slightly over 100. At the end of the Civil War, fewer than 20 remained. The town grew again and was incorporated on June 21, 1887 and Welaka was affirmed as the town's name. The name "Welaka" is said to have been derived from the word local American Indians used for the St. Johns River, the "River of Lakes". By the 1880s, Welaka had become a resort town, marketing itself to visitors seeking medicinal cures from the mineral water of the local springs. The Welaka Mineral Water Company was incorporated on November 15, 1907. The mineral water comes from a subterranean spring 329 feet below the surface, and is put in bottles in its natural state at the springs. Welaka is home to some of the best large-mouth bass fishing in the world, with several natural springs in the area feeding the calm waters of the St. Johns River.