Southfield Township, originally known as Ossewa Township, came into existence on July 12, 1830. The name was changed to Southfield Township seventeen days later. Franklin Village was an early community established in the fall of 1828. The break up of the original 36 square miles of Southfield  Township began with the incorporation of the City of Lathrup Village on May 12, 1953, the Village of Franklin on November 8, 1953, the Village of Bingham Farms on June 7, 1955, and the Village of Beverly Hills (originally named the Village of Westwood) in April, 1958. The City of Southfield was incorporated on September 16, 1957. 

The Township of Southfield now consists of three villages, Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms, Franklin and some unincorporated areas.

A question frequently asked is why the Township exists.  By law, cities and townships are considered stand-alone communities.  Villages must be part of a township.  Townships are statutorily required to collect school and county taxes, hold village, state and national elections and provide assessing services.  Other services provided by Southfield Township are collaborative efforts to reduce costs to the Villages within the Township.