Friday, October 14, 2011

100 Years Ago #6

This article is part of a series written by educators from the college graduating class of 1911 upon their 25th college reunion in 1936. We are constantly facing changes in education, however you may be surprised to find some parallels between schools in 1936 and schools in 2011. I hope you enjoy some history of education, specifically Lutheran education.

The following words were originally shared via the Lutheran Education Association Administrators' Listserve by Greg Hassedahl, principal of Bethany Lutheran School in Overland Park, KS.

These words are from the graduating class of 1911 from Concordia University, Seward, NE upon their celebration of 25 years from graduation. The verbiage and punctuation is as they wrote it for their commemorative booklet from 1936. I added necessary [rough translations] from German.

O. Kamprath placed in Bloomfield, NE who was then serving in Williamsburg, IA.

The month of June 1911 marked never-to-be-forgotten days for the class of eighteen who were to be graduated from Concordia Teacher's College Seward, Nebraska at the end of that term. I shall never forget the evening after devotion, when our sainted Director Weller read the list of assignments, among which was the remark: Kamprath, Bloomfield, Nebraska. Eine sehr schwierige Stelle [A very difficult place]. Being obliged to leave the institution without graduation exercises was a great disappointment.

On August 13, 1911 I was installed as the first teacher of First Trinity Lutheran Church in Bloomfield, Nebraska. Here this nineteen-year old greenhorn began his career in a school of forty-six pupils, ranging in age from six to nineteen years, having been called by a group of the members with the permission of the congregation. After having served one year, and the enemies of the school having been somewhat subdued, the congregation accepted me as their teacher.

Here I served in the work of feeding the lambs for a period of twelve years, during which time the enrollment varied between thirty-six and sixty. A mixed choir, a male quartet and an orchestra were organized under my supervision. In 1914 a new church was built, the old church remodeled for a school and a teacherage was built.

August 6, 1913 marks the beginning of our happy married life. Miss Martha Buehrer decided to share the poverty of a teacher's family, so she consented to have her Pastor, Rev. Rittamel of Marysville, Nebraska to make us one. Here in Bloomfield, Milton, Victor, and Norma were born. One son died at birth.

In 1923, a call was received, and I accepted to St. John Congregation near Homestead, Iowa, Rev. F. Wolter, Pastor. Here I faced an enrollment of fifty-six pupils in all grades, but during the second semester the pastor took charge of the lower grades, and the following fall a student was engaged to teach the lower grades. This a two-room school was organized and exists as such to the present day. This congregation to this day has services in the German language only, with religious instruction in school primarily in that language also. Here I spent the eleven most pleasing years of my teaching career. Loretta, Ethel, May, Elmer, and Donald were born here and thrived on plenty of milk from our own cow and plenty of good old Iowa fresh air and sunshine. In 1928 this congregation built us a beautiful nine-room house which we enjoyed for six years. A male choir and a mixed choir were in my care at this place, the former consisting mostly of older men who enjoyed singing the good old German songs, both religious and secular. This choir had the privilege to broadcast a program over Station WSUI, Iowa City several times a year, featuring German hymns and songs.

But the Lord willed it that I move once more. In August 1934 I accepted a call to St. Paul's Congregation at Williamsburg, Iowa, where I am teaching a one-room school again with a present enrollment of forty pupils. We hope to build up this school to a two-room soon. The pastor T.H. Joeckel, who was installed here this past January, is highly interested in schoolwork. This congregation has a male choir, a ladies' choir, a Walther League Society, A Ladies' Aid and Altruistic Society [another ladies group - possibly the English speaking organization].

Concerning my family, I might add that Milton was married on December 28 last year and is now living in Williamsburg practicing the tonsorial art on the heads and faces of its citizens. Victor is completing his sixth year at Concordia Teachers College, River Forest. Norma graduates this year from the Williamsburg High School: incidentally the three highest ranking students in this class are from our Christian Day schools. Loretta, Ethel May, and Elmer are attending my school, and Donald is still keeping company with his mother.

For twenty-five years we have been leading little children to Christ, and by the grace of God, may look back upon more or less success. Only eternity will fully show the success of our work. May the motto of our class, "Deo Duce" [With God for a leader], help us to carry on this work also in the future.

Oscar Kamprath

Image: The Teacherage, mrsrivergirl, Uploaded via flickr July 20, 2011, Creative Commons License


  1. Oscar was my Great Grandfather

    1. I would check with Greg Hasseldahl

  2. I would really like to know if you have any other writings of his..