Charles Springer was born November 6, 1658 in Klara Parrish, Stockholm, Sweden into an upper-class family. His father was Christopher Springer (1592-1669), a career Swedish civil servant. His mother was Christopher Springer's third wife Beata Jacobine Hendrickson Salina (~1626-1693). Beata served as royal housekeeper for Queen Hedvig Eleonora of Holstein-Gottorp, widow of King Charles X Gustav of Sweden.
Educated in Riga, Latvia, a colony of Sweden at the time, he was later sent to London, England to study English and mathematics. While preparing to return home from London at the age of 21, Charles was "shanghaied" and placed aboard an English ship heading for the Virginia Colony. According to a letter he sent to his mother in 1693, upon arriving in Virginia he "was sold off like a farm animal...and held in ver[y] slavery for five years." He was placed to work at a tobacco plantation for five years. While in indentured servitude he heard that there were other Swedes that had settled on the Delaware River, and upon his release in 1684 he travelled the 400 miles to New Sweden, which by that time was under British rule in the colony of Pennsylvania. In his own words: "when I got there I beheld the Old Swedes [Church], and they received me very kindly."