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Mortimer (Catherine) Clifford

Mortimer Clifford
Mortimer (Catherine) Clifford

Eminent Homemaker

County: Shannon

Catherine Hernandez was born in the Kyle community in western South Dakota and has lived her entire life in that area. She married Mortimer Clifford in 1915 and the couple farmed near a hamlet called Conada. Here the six Clifford children were born.

The Cliffords moved back to the Hernandez home site in 1937 and continued their ranching operation and gardening work.

In 1938 Mrs. Clifford was president of the Extension club. She and her 22 club women worked on dozens of projects which included sewing, canning, making pottery, soap, and bread. She was chairman of all Extension clubs on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation area for three years.

She helped found a Mother’s Victory Club for World War II servicemen and reorganized the group in 1967 for servicemen in the Vietnam War.

In 1957 she became very active in Public Health activities and she organized a small group to help Indian people afflicted with tuberculosis. She recalls the frustrating task of getting some of these people to a hospital for treatment.

She has always been very concerned about providing food and clothing for Reservation families. During the depression when food was scarce she took her group of women to areas where she knew wild fruits and vegetables were plentiful. They worked together to dry and preserve the food they collected.

During WPA days she organized her Independence Extension Club for sewing projects.

She encouraged neighbors to raise gardens and in the 1940’s she and her husband led a community garden effort designed to provide additional food for Kyle School children. Each fall they preserved around 3,500 quarts of food.

The family includes Agnes Dozenark, a stepdaughter now living at Kyle, South Dakota, where she works at the Sioux Nation Shopping Center; Mortimer is a high school instructor in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Evelyn is a home economics teacher in Salem, Oregon; Calvin is a body and fender repairman in Rapid City, South Dakota; Sydney operates a ranch near Kyle, South Dakota; Gloria is now Mrs. Emerson Stone of Manderson, South Dakota, and is a homemaker and works as a pre-school teacher. There are ten grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.