A Proud History

Exeter Township has many locations listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including those owned by ancestors of Daniel Boone and Abraham Lincoln. Here is more about our history...

Origins
The township was officially founded in 1741, about 40 years after the first settlers arrived in the eastern part of Berks County.  The area was previously considered part of Oley Township, but the residents petitioned Philadelphia County to become a separate township six months after the establishment of Oley.  The petitioners represented the Quaker background and included members of the George Boone family, relatives of the famous frontiersman, Daniel Boone, who traveled to Kentucky and Missouri.  

The name of the Township - Exeter - is generally credited to the George Boone family, which was originally from a town in England called Bradninch, just outside of Exeter. In fact, many similarities still exist between the two cities, among them the geography, soil type, and proximity to a town called St. Lawrence.

The Boones were one of the most influential families in Exeter Township, at one time owning more than 1,000 acres of land. Today, the Daniel Boone Homestead remains a popular site for visitors.  Another important name in Exeter Township history is Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln's great-great grandfather Mordecai had a homestead that is still standing along Heister's creek.

Growth

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Exeter grew due to the need for connections between the city of Reading, Oley, Boyertown, Birdsboro, and King of Prussia.  Trolley lines pushed through the township, and suburban sprawl boosted Exeter’s population after World War II. Transportation was enhanced in the 1980s with the completion of the Rt. 422 Bypass, which connected Exeter to King of Prussia and improved commuting time for people working in the greater Philadelphia area.

The township continues to be focused on growth and economic development, and has many initiatives in the works to improve the lives of residents and businesses.

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 Sestercentennial in 1991.  Contact the Township office at (610) 779-5660 for more info.