Charles Read was a lawyer, landowner and ironmaster who attained prominence as a jurist and statesman in colonial New Jersey. He was born ca. 1713 in Philadelphia, the son of Charles Read who served as mayor of Philadelphia from 1726 to 1727.
Around 1736, after a liberal education under private tutors, Read was sent to London and was subsequently appointed midshipman in the British Navy. Around 1739 he returned to America and became clerk of the city of Burlington and shortly after was made collector of the port of Burlington. In 1749 he was appointed associate justice of the supreme court of New Jersey and for a brief period in 1764 he held the office of chief justice on appointment by Governor Franklin.
In addition to affairs of state he was engaged in many enterprises. His law practice was one of the best in the province. A land speculator on a large scale, he was party to more than one hundred recorded land transfers involving many thousands of acres is western New Jersey. He was interested in agriculture and carried on experiments to improve farm practices. Around 1765 he took up the manufacture of iron from bog ore, setting in motion an important industry.
Charles Read was a jurist, statesman, farmer and manufacturer in colonial New Jersey.