Originally established under the name Edenview on September 21, 1876, the Township of Clifton was renamed shortly after its creation at the suggestion of Christopher Dillman, a pioneer settler of the area. The township shares its name with several villages and townships in twenty-one other states.

Dudley railway station in Clifton was platted in December 20, 1901. It was named for Dudley village and township in Massachusetts.