The year 1701 is believed to be the year that Berks County was first settled. Swedes, relocating from the Philadelphia and Delaware River areas, settled in what is now Amity Township.
In 1712, Isaac DeTurk moved from Esopus, New York to Oley and began a settlement there. It was a mix of French Hugenots, Germans Quakers and Swiss. In 1740, they petitioned Philadelphia County for Oley to become it's own Township.
Exeter Township was founded December 7th, 1741. Previously considered part of Oley Township, the area's residents petitioned Philadelphia County to become a separate Township six months after the establishment of Oley. The petitioners were: James Boone, Benjamin Boone, John Boone, Squire Boone, John Hughes, William Hughes, Francis Yarnell, Peter Yarnell, Michael Warren, Peter Huyett, Peter Higo, Ezekiel Mathias, Roger Rogers, Joseph Brown, Jacob Vetter, and Ellis Hughes. These petitioners represent our Quaker background, and mostly resided in the area around the Quaker Meetinghouse and the Monocacy and Limekiln creeks.
The actual name of the Township, "Exeter", is generally credited to the George Boone family. That family was from a town called Bradninch, England, just outside the town of Exeter. Many similarities still exist between the two cities, among them being the geography, soil type, and proximity to a town called St. Lawrence.
EARLY RESIDENTS AND COMMUNITIES
The first community created in Exeter was called Snydersville. It was populated mostly by relatives of Hans Schneider from the Limekiln area. It contained stores, schools, mills, and even a hotel. Some of the other communities that developed early were: Baumstown, Black Bear, Jacksonwald, St. Lawrence, Stonersville, Stonetown, Lorane, and Neversink Station.
George Boone and family were one of the most influential families in Exeter. At one time they owned over 1000 acres of land in the Township and were among the petitioners to form the Township. Of course there's Daniel Boone as well, who we know grew up in Exeter and went on to become famous in his journeys from Kentucky to Missouri.
Another important name is Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln's great-great grandfather Mordecai had a homestead that is still standing along Heister's creek.
Through the 19th and 20th centuries, Exeter began to grow due to the need for connections between the city of Reading, Oley, Boyertown, Birdsboro, and King of Prussia. Trolley lines pushed through the Township, in the Farming Ridge area on it's way to Boyertown and in the Reiffton area headed towards Birdsboro. Suburban sprawl got going post WWII to boost Exeter's population. And the Route 422 Bypass to King of Prussia was completed in the 1980's. All of these things lead us up to what Exeter Township is today, a thriving community of over 21,000 people.
If you are looking for more information about the history of Exeter Township, you may want to pick up a copy of "Exeter 250", the publication created for the Sesquibicentennial in 1991. Contact the Township office at (610) 779-5660.