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 Charlestown Township.

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.

This page updated on February 28, 2009