John Pritiskutch Reproductions

History of Berks County - Caernarvon Township

The following is reproduced from the 1876 Atlas of Berks County, Pennsylvania

This township derives its name from a place in North Wales, whence the earlier settlers of Caernarvon emigrated. William Penn, when he invited the different classes of men come to Pennsylvania, was not forgetful of the Welsh. Foreseeing that people acquainted with the business would be needed to develope the iron industry, he invited the Welsh to make their home in his province. His offer was accepted, and the valley of the Conestoga was settled by Welsh iron-masters. The first inhabitant of Caernarvon was David Jones, who bought about one thousand acres of land, about 1733. A mansion now standing on the turnpike, two miles from Morgantown, was built by Colonel Jonathan Jones, in 1750.

The mines now known as the "Jones Mines," are located on the one thousand acres of land belonging to David Jones. These were the first mines successfully worked in the State. Others had been operated previously, but these were the first where mining was a success. The iron business can therefore be said to have its origin in Caernarvon township. The streams were at that time lined with iron forges. But since the discovery of the more extensive beds in this and Lebanon counties, the mines have been principally worked for copper. The principal village of Caernarvon is Morgantown. This place, beautifully situated in the Conestoga Valley, is one of the most pleasant villages of the county. It is easily reached by means of the pike-road from Reading, being only thirteen miles from the latter place. It is named for Colonel Morgan of the Revolutionary war, who founded the town. It is noted for being the birth-place of many men who have been prominent in the history of the country. The village has many buildings of historic interest, and also many of modern architecture. The stores and hotels of Morgantown are well patronized by the people. The hotel kept by David Plank, Esq., is one of the best in the county.

The education of the place is of a high standard. The schools are well administered by faithful teachers. A lyceum is maintained by the enterprising and progressive people. The church occupied by the Episcopalians is a splendid edifice, and a credit to the community. The Methodists have a fine building for public worship.

The population of Caernarvon in 1870 was 927.

The energies of the inhabitants of the present day are devoted principally to farming. And in no portion of the county is the attention paid to the cultivation of the earth more richly rewarded. The soil is composed of gravel and limestone, and is very fertile. As has been said, "If you tickle the earth with a hoe, it will laugh with a harvest."

Caernarvon has evidently a glorious future before it. With a soil so productive and with such excellent facilities for communication with the great, commercial centres, the township will doubtless continue to increase in population, wealth, and agricultural and business importance. As in the past, so in the future, Caernarvon will maintain an important place among the other townships of Berks.