Museum the New Llano Colony

Gudrun "Runa" Baldwin

Birth: She was born in 1892 at Alberta, Canada.  

Family Information:

Wife of Septer Baldwin.

Mother of Rhea Mae Baldwin, who was born in the California colony around 1917.  


Pre-Colony History: In 1901 she was living in Alberta, Canada with her parents and siblings.

In 1916 she and Septer were living in Alberta, Canada where he worked as a farmer and she reported her religion to be Lutheran.

The couple joined the colony at some point during the California years. They came to Louisiana with the main body of colonists near the end of 1917.  

Home in Colony:

The Baldwin's lived in a rather fine home which had been built for Mr. Irwin, who went on to start the Christian Commonwealth Community which, although a separate organization from the Llano colony, existed as a co-operative neighbor.

Job in Colony:

While in California, the couple operated the Dumontagne farm of 80 acres at the Mescal Creek location.

In Louisiana, she worked in the bakery and was the forewoman of the roaster and bakery department.

In June 1928 she was assisting in the cannery along with Mrs. Roe, Mrs. Daugherty, Mrs. Shoemaker, Ruth Shoemaker and Raymond de Fausell. They were canning meat -- first it was cut up and partly cooked in the bakery oven, after which it was put into cans and finished up in the steam pressure cookers.

In July she, Mrs. Hewitt from the hotel and laundry, and Mrs. Daugherty from the sewing room were still helping in the cannery by cutting up the meat which was to be canned the next day.

In November 1928 Jim McGee was in charge of the food products plant, where he was responsible for shelling and grinding corn into mule and cow feed as well as grinding some for corn meal for the colonists; he hulled the rice and made rice meal and flour, hulled beans and peas, ground the whole wheat flour and helped Mrs. Baldwin and Mrs. Moore make peanut butter.

In October 1931 Mrs. Raicoff worked with Septer and Runa Baldwin to prepare dinner while Jack Williams rustled around among the pots and kettles.

She worked at the commissary with Comrade Tuber. In October 1931 they were doing a "land office business" and it was thought they could have still a larger patronage if they would put in a greater variety of supplies.

Other Info:

She was one of the members of the colony when George T. Pickett was first named General Manager.

In 1929 the theater program featured camera pictures of Llano, California and Newllano which were shown on a white screen while George Pickett paid tribute to the Auld Lang Syners who had been part of the pioneer days of the colony including: Peter, Dora and Harold Kemp; L. Roedemeister, Dad Thomas and Mr. Fox; Septer, Runa and Rhea May Baldwin; Chas. Anderson, Anton Van Nuland and Theo Landrum; Susan and Albert Moore; William and Mrs. Newman; Arthur, Donna, Donna 2nd and Dolores Goble; and George Pickett himself.

In April 1929 she attended a birthday party held for Billie Busick (five years old) and Charlotte Hewitt (turning four) at the home of Mrs. Minnie Hewitt.

Post-Colony History: She left the colony with her husband and daughter in 1935 to live in Idaho.

In 1940 she and Septer were living in Washington where he was working as an outside foreman in a coal mine.  

Death: She died in 1954 from a coronary thrombosis following a fractured left femur twelve days before. The injury to her leg must have happened around February 18. Her husband died on February 26th and she passed away on March 2nd. Both are buried in Farmington, Washington.  

Sources: Alberta, Canada Marriages Index; Canada Census: 1901, 1916; "Llano Colonist": June 16, 1928, July 21, 1928, November 10, 1928, March 9, 1929, April 27, 1929, October 10, 1931, October 31, 1931, January 14, 1933 (The Story of Llano), April 11, 1933 (Reprinted from the Colonist May 17, 1924), July 22, 1933, February 16, 1935; "Vernon Parish Democrat": February 7, 1929; "Can We Cooperate" by Bob Brown; US Census: 1920, 1930, 1940; Idaho Death Records;  


The Septer Baldwin home.
The Septer Baldwin home.

Clipping from the Vernon Parish Democrat dated February 7, 1929.
Clipping from the "Vernon Parish Democrat" dated February 7, 1929.

The Baldwin family -- Septer, Rhea Mae and Runa.
The Baldwin family -- Septer, Rhea Mae and Runa.

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