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Waterford is a charter township in the center of Oakland County, Michigan. By 2012 Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) population estimates, the township had a population of 72,166, up from the 2010 census.
Lewis Cass, the third governor of Michigan Territory, established the boundaries of Oakland County in 1819. Waterford Township was organized in 1834.
Before being displaced by European settlers in the 18th and early 19th century, the area was populated with Iroquoian and Algonquian tribes of the Hurons, Ottawas, Ojibwas, Potawatomies, Miamis, Sauk, and others. During the French and Iroquois Wars, the Iroquois expanded westward and maintained a temporary presence in the area, having displaced other tribes. However, by the time white settlers ventured into the area that would become Waterford Village, there were few Native Americans living in the area.
In the latter part of 1818 Oliver Williams selected land in Oakland County which he purchased for $2.00 an acre ($494/km²). Archibald Phillips and Alpheus Williams purchased 161.40 acres (653,200 m2) in what became the village of Waterford. In 1819 he and his family established the first farm settlement in the county on the banks of Silver Lake. The same year, Oliver’s brother-in-law, Alpheus Williams, and Archibald Phillips settled at the site of the present Waterford village. They also continued on to where the crossed the Saginaw Trail (now known as US 24, Dixie Highway). Here the first house of the village of Waterford was built by Alpheus Williams on the north bank of the river. Archibald Phillips built his home across from the south corner where Andersonville Road meets Dixie Highway. Williams and Phillips also built the first dam where the Clinton River crossed the Saginaw Trail and erected the first sawmill.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 35.3 square miles (91 km2), of which 31.3 square miles (81 km2) is land and 4.0 square miles (10 km2), or 11.22%, is water.