Museum the New Llano Colony

Septer "Baldy" Baldwin


He was born in Farmington, Washington in 1885.

Family Information: Husband of Gudrun "Runa" Baldwin.

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

Description: In 1918 he was described being of medium height and build with blue eyes and brown hair. In 1942 he was described as height 5'9 1/2", weight 142 with blue eyes, brown hair and light complexion.  

Pre-Colony History: In 1900 and 1910 he was living in Farmington, Washington with his parents and siblings -- in 1910 he was working as a laborer on a general farm.

In 1911 he applied for a homestead in Markerville, Alberta, Canada and in 1914 he married Gudrun Eirikson at that place.

In 1916 he and Runa were living in Alberta, Canada where he worked as a farmer and he reported his religion to be Methodist.

He and Runa 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:

After he became assistant manager and returned to the main 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 1920 he was listed as a laborer on the colony farm. When the Rice Ranch was purchased in 1922, Baldy became the first supervisor there. In 1928 Cuno reported that "irrigating the rice fields at this Llano-Elton Ranch is now progressing at full speed of our rotary pump, driven by a powerful steam-engine, the boiler for supplying the steam being fired all day and all night by Leonard, Shipman and Baldwin who are taking turns at shifts varying from eight to fourteen hours. The self-sacrificing spirit of these brave comrades is really wonderful to behold."

In 1928 he did the annual sheep shearing all by himself -- on all three of the colony's sheep. He would grab a sheep, throw it on its back, twist its head between his legs and start shearing, from the breast up to the sheep's head, down the left side, turning over to the right, from the head down to the tail and before you knew it the sheep was naked. The wool remained intact -- all in one sheet, weighing about four pounds. Each sheep took 11 to 13 minutes each. He told Cuno that when he'd been farming in the state of Washington, seventeen years prior, he'd been so efficient that he could shear ten sheep within one hour.

In 1929 Shipman and Kimball, Baldwin and Brannon planted Irish potatoes on the large plot west and north of the vegetable garden where Duckett had been cultivating and planting sweet potatoes in the new hotbeds; they were also busy shearing sheep.

In September 1931 one hundred fifty sacks of beans and peas were picked in the forenoon by a volunteer crew of men, women and children. The crowd gathered a little after 7 am and was divided into different crews to look after different fields; by 11:30 the job was done. Volunteers included: Killian, Butts, Lloyd, Baldwin, Waters, Doc Williams, Quentin, Fred Busick, Roscoe Busick, Byron Busick, Vivian Busick, Graves, Webb, John Allred, Melvina Hullinger, Fred Levan, Goeke, Eldred, Tom Farrell, Claud Allred, Earl Swenson, Mackie, Frank Collins, George Collins, Boydelatour, Cleve Campbell, Mr. Caves, Clarence Long, Harry Rennick, Dee Kurtz, Pittman, Edminster, Walter Fread, Clarence Fread, Mrs. Herron, Woodruff, J.W. Gilbert, H.M. Wood, Winegar, Bert Moore, Lindwall, Ole Synoground, Rohr, Carnahan, Hoens, Mrs. Wooley, John Neill, Robert Roe, Warren Roe, Nesnow, Bartrum and B. Stevens.

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

In December 1932 he was still listed as one of the Rice Ranch (near Elton, LA) workers. He also served on the colony Board of Directors for more than sixteen years.

In February 1934 he was a member of the Sunday Volunteer Gang including: Bill Heath, Charles Brown, Rob Roe, Walter Gaulke, Dad Thomas, Ernest Prodon, Bert Busick, Roscoe Busick, Gossett, Jack Carnahan, Ed Hiatt John Calgarry, Tom Cunningham, Phillips, Real Baril, Nick Lentz, Ed Mansfield, Septer Baldwin, F.W. Fay and F.S. Hammond. They spent the day cutting some eight hundred feet of cypress lumber into two-inch planks, twenty inches wide and as clear as a hound's tooth to be used for shingles. 

Other Info:

He enjoyed fishing and was often successful.

He was one of the members of the colony when George T. Pickett first named General Manager and was one of the longest serving members on the Board of Directors in the colony.

In 1928 he was one of the founding members of the local Conscientious Objectors Union; Theodore Atworth served as the first Secretary-Treasurer with O.E. Enfield serving as the President. The organization was planned to be international, composed of people who refused to go to war as a matter of conscience. Charter members included: Theodore Atworth, Mary H. Atworth, Emily H. Dougherty, I.A. Dougherty, Carl H. Gleeser, S. Weislander, Charlie C. Black, John Hight, Lowell H. Coate, W.A. Shutt, F.O. Jernberg, Reka Jernberg, Anna Tabb, Peter Kemp, F. Rosenburg, B. Wade Hewitt, Hamilton H. McClurg, W.J. Hoag, Theodore F. Landrum, C.N. Butts, Mary Snyder, George Snyder, Anna Garrett, Emma Shutt, M.A. Brattland, Richard P. Condon, Jr., Emily Swenson, W.J. Newman, George T. Pickett, Raymond DeFausell, S.E. Baldwin, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Molenar, Earl L. Bosch, Guy F. Rogers, Ora E. Newman, James J. Miller, Bert Busick, Mabel D. Busick, Ole Synoground, C.C. Mickey, Fred A. Jensen, Katie Mickey, F. Rahn and Isaac H. Keyes.

At Christmas time 1928 Curly Goble and Warren Fread carried a load of building materials to the Rice Ranch; on the return trip they brought sixteen hogs and 38 bales of rice straw. To carry this load, a floor of stout planks and beams had to be constructed over the bottom of the truck and then "the "fun" commenced. The hogs had to be captured and such squealing and grunting of the indignantly protesting porkers was never heard in those parts -- and such pulling of legs and ears you never saw, but after a strenuous hunt and battle the poor beasts were at last safely [loaded] and then the 33 bales of straw were piled upon the floor above the hogs and when that was accomplished you would have seen a truckload about as high as the ranch-house and on of top of that clambered Harold and Ben Hewett, Jr. going to help celebrate Xmas at the Colony's home. Baldwin and little Eugene followed them in Baldwin's Rolls Royce twenty cylinder car which [was] equipped with all the luxuries and trimmings of a modern traveling palace."

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

In December 1932, a rabbit council of war was held on the porch of the office building and all the rabbit experts were present. The Chinchilla rabbits had recently been moved to the Hoag Ranch. W.R. Gaylord (who'd had all of 200 Chins in a private rabbitry in Oregon), Warren Hoag, Baldy, and Bert Moore (who'd had his own rabbitry and had cared for the more than 7,000 rabbits at the Llano del Rio colony in California) engaged in solemn council. "There'd been a day when rabbit breeding was a marketable commodity; and rabbit meat brought 30 cents a pound, dressed. But them days [we]re gone forever. The cows and mules had first call on the peanut hay, corn and other good fodder and the alfalfa experiment in Llano had not worked out so well. To buy feed for rabbits was voted not a paying business. And so, the axe was voted to be the best method of solving the problem of feeding rabbits."

Post-Colony History: In February 1935 he and his family left the colony so he could take over the business interest of his father's big cattle ranch in Idaho.

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

Death: He died of Cerebral Arteriosclerosis in 1954 at Idaho. His usual occupation at the time was as a laborer. Runa died only a few days later. Both were buried in Farmington, Washington.  

Sources: US Census: 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940; Alberta, Canada Homestead Records; Alberta, Canada Marriages Index; Canada Census in Alberta: 1916; US Draft Registration: WWI, WWII; "Llano Colonist": October 29, 1927, May 26, 1928, June 9, 1928, December 22, 1928, January 5, 1929, March 9, 1929, April 13, 1929, April 27, 1929, September 5, 1931, October 10, 1931, December 10, 1932, December 24, 1932, January 14, 1933 (The Story of Llano), April 11, 1933 (Reprinted from the Colonist May 17, 1924), February 3, 1934, February 16, 1935; "Can We Cooperate" by Bob Brown; Idaho Death Records;; US SS Applications and Claims Index


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

The Septer Baldwin home.
The Septer Baldwin home.

Board of Directors, 1925
Board of Directors, 1925 - Septer Baldwin, Sid Merrel, Ole Synoground, Carl Gleeser, Louise Gaddis, George Pickett, Bill Burton, Peter Kemp, Dan Cryer.

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