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Grandmother Rose, A Pioneer Immigration Officer


Kris Baldwin


My grandmother was the first woman employed at the Noyes Immigration Office. Very few women were employed in the government office sat that time. Grandmother took the Government Civil Service test, passed, and got the job. She tells of many amusing things that happened as Grandmother Rose and Grandfather Phil dealt with the bootleggers and criminals. They worked during the prohibition days. So, they were always on watch for bootleggers trying to slip by the border with their bottles of illegal liquor. When they found a woman with illegal goods, Grandmother Rose would search her. The bootleggers also would hand their bottles out the train window. You can just imagine their surprise when they found that an inspector had cut the string.

On May 6, 1922, Grandmother Rose and her family came to Noyes, Minnesota. They stayed at the Emerson Hotel for a month until they moved into a house on the west side of the Red River. My father, Mark, Aunt Sarah and Aunt Mary were born in Emerson and had a dual citizenship until they were old enough to make a choice of which nationality they wanted to be.

In the spring of 1926, they moved to St. Vincent so Phil, Rose, Mark, Mary, and Sarah could get an American education.

In 1928, they moved to Humboldt in the house across the road west of Leo Ash's. Then in 1931, they moved to the farm where Mark Baldwin now lives. There were horses to ride, cattle and sheep to herd, geese, guinea hens, chickens, and turkeys to feed and take care of. Besides the tilling of the land, there was a happy time.

At night friends would come over. They would sing, play music and dance. Grandfather Phil would play the old violin and Grandmother Rose would play the piano. Sometimes they would go swimming and have a picnic. After church on Sunday, they would go for a ride and get together with friends and relatives.

Rose Lehn was born July 2, 1893. She was the child of Nick and Mary Len. She was the second oldest of a family of four. Before she was very old, they moved from Browns Valley, Minnesota to a farm in Watertown, South Dakota. Next, they moved to Culbertson, Montana where Mrs. Baldwin’s father, Nick, had a hauling service.

They moved to Kalispell, Montana, where Grandmother Rose taught a typing school when she met Phil Baldwin. They were married in 1916.Later, they started a business school and Grandmother Rose taught typing, shorthand, and other classes.

Then they moved to Helena, Montana, where they had a dairy farm and raised alfalfa. The next year they moved to El Paso, Texas where Grandfather Phil entered the immigration. Their home was made of adobe brick which is made of mud, straw, and manure. Then they moved to Noyes, Minnesota.

My grandmother now lives in a little house in Humboldt, Minnesota. She is 80 years young. I say young, because she doesn't seem to get old. She has 36 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren and is very happy.


Interview, Mrs. Rose Baldwin, Humboldt, MN, February 1973


Also see Update:

Baldwin, Rose Elizabeth(Lehn), July 2, 1993, by Kristine Elizabeth Baldwin

July 2, 1993, by Kristine Elizabeth Baldwin