Charlestown Township and the stream of water which
flows through it were named in honor of Charles Pickering of Asmore, in the
county of Chester, England. His first name - Charles - being given to the township
and his surname - Pickering - to the creek. Charles Pickering was an
Englishman who, it is said, crossed the ocean with William Penn, and wandered up
the Schuylkill River in search of treasure. Supposing he had discovered
traces of silver on the banks of the stream which now bears his name, and
believing that the neighboring hills contained large quantities of the
precious metal, he returned to Philadelphia and obtained from Penn a grant of
a large tract of land bordering upon the stream. He then dug up and sent
to England a large quantity of the supposed precious metal for analysis.
What the result was is not known, but it is supposed it was unfavorable, as
the efforts at mining were abandoned. Traces of excavations made in
these mining operations are said to be still visable.
In 1683 Pickering was tried
for setting up a private mint for the "quoining of Spanish Bitts and
Boston money, " for which he was fined 40 £ and directed to redeem all
that had been issued. It does not appear that this was followed but
the council, 1685, passed a resolution declaring that in privileges and
freedom, he stood in "Equal Capacity" with other colonists. He
was drowned while crossing the ocean, and his land in Chester County was
divided between 16 of his friends to whom he had devised it.
In 1733 a tract called 'the
Manor of Bilton', given by Penn to his sister Margaret Lowther, was
resurveyed, and found to contain 2850 acres, being in the SE part of
The township was divided in the year
1862 and the eastern division , lying along the river, called Schuylkill Township,
the name Charlestown being retained by the western division. In 1827 the
lines between the SW part of Charlestown and the townships of East and West
Whiteland, and Uwchlan were altered, the former survey having been defective
or incorrectly reported. The early settlers of Charlestown were mostly
Welsh, followed by some from Germany.