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Photographs - Collections - 2012 - #2012-P-060

Title: William and Nellie Kamrath

Dates: 1919-1934

Collection Number:  2012-P-060

Quantity: 5 items

Abstract: Black and white photographs from Kamrath's time as a legislator from the 47th District (Grant County) including composite portraits of the ND House (1925 and 1927) and ND Senate (1919), a group of legislative wives  that includes William's wife Nellie, and a Non-Partisan League convention group portrait at Valley City (1934). Kamrath served in the ND House from 1919-1922 and 1925-1928 and in the Senate from 1929-1956.

Provenance: Randy Johnson, grandson of Kamrath, donated the collection to the State
Historical Society of North Dakota in November 2012.

Property Rights: The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to this
Copyrights: Copyrights to materials in this collection remain with the donor, publisher, author,
or author's heirs.  Researchers should consult the 1976 Copyright Act, Public Law 94-553, Title
17, U.S. Code and an archivist at this repository if clarification of copyright requirements is
Access: This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of
North Dakota.
Citation: Researchers are requested to cite the collection title, collection number, and the State
Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.       

Transfer: No materials were transferred from this collection.

From William’s obituary in the Grant County Tribune, June 15, 1961

“William Kamrath, 81, pioneer farmer-lawmaker died unexpectedly early Monday morning, June 12 at the Lorenzen Memorial Hospital here. Mr. Kamrath had lived at the hospital for nearly five years assisting with the care of his wife who had been a patient there since a heart attack several years ago.

He knew that he had a heart condition, but he had been active up to the time of his death…

Mr. Kamrath was born in Ponca, Nebraska, February 14, 1880, the son of Gottfried and Wilhelmine (Rakow) Kamrath.

He was united in marriage to Nellie Emch January 17, 1900, in Carroll, Nebraska. This marriage was blessed with six children.

He and his wife moved to North Dakota in 1907 and homesteaded two miles southwest of Leith. In the fall of 1944 they moved into Leith where they lived until Mrs. Kamrath became ill and they have been making their home for the past five years in the local hospital.

Mr. Kamrath’s life was one dedicated to services. He served on innumerable boards and committees dedicated to making life better for all people. He served in the North Daktoat State Senate for many years and upon his retirement from politics was the Senior Senator.

As a legislator, people of different political philosophy might have questioned the way he voted but they never questioned his right to vote the way he chose or the honesty and integrity which prompted that vote. During his man years and sessions at the State Capitol he earned the respect not only of his constituents in the 47th legislative district but of people and lawmakers throughout the State of North Dakota.

He believed in the need for a hospital in Grant County and worked along with other leaders in the area toward that end and after the medical facilities became a reality he served that institution as a director for many years…

Mr. Kamrath was a member of the First Presbyterians Church. He was one of the first members of the school board and held this position for 30 years.

He was a director of the Farmers Equity Elevator for 16 years. He was a member of the House of Representatives in 1919, 1921, 1925 and 1927. He was a member of the Senate from 1929 to 1955 when he retired from political life.

He is survived by his wife, Nellie, and the following sons and daughters: Dwight of Elgin; Clair of Corvallis, Oregon; Claude of Sacramento, California; Roswell of Leith; Mildred, Mrs. Roy Lehman; Marcia, Mrs. Edward Johnson of Carson.”

From Nellie’s obituary in the Grant County Tribune, July 6, 1961

“Mrs. Nellie V. Kamrath passed away at 7:35 p.m. Friday, June 30th, 1960 at the Lorenzen Memorial Hospital in Elgin, at the age of 78 years, two months, and one day.

Mrs. Kamrath was born in Basil, Ohio, April 29, 1883, the daughter of Nicholas and Rachel (Terrence) Emch. She moved with her parents to Nebraska when a young girl.

She was united in marriage to William Kamrath in Carroll, Nebraska, January 17, 1900. This marriage was blessed with eight children. They moved to North Dakota in 1907 and homesteaded two miles southwest of Leith, ND. In the fall of 1944 they moved to Leith, where they lived until she became ill, June 30, 1956. They have been making their home for the past five years in the Elgin Hospital.

Mrs. Kamrath was active in the church, Mission Society and Homemakers.

She is survived by six children; four sons and two daughters, Dwight, Elgin; Clair, Corvallis, Oregon; Claude, Sacramento, California; Roswell, Leith; Mrs. Roy (Mildred) Lehman, Elgin; and Mrs. Edwin (Marcia) Johnson, Carson. Also 21 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband on June 12 of this year. One son, Cyril, at the age of 22 and one daughter, Ardath, in infancy, her parents, three brothers and one sister all preceded her in death. Surviving are three brothers and one sister: J. H. Emch, Frank P. Emch and Mrs. Edward (Edythe) Heaps of Leith and Charles Emch of Bismarck, as well as other relatives and a host of friends.

Mr. and Mrs. Kamrath were both Charter Members of the First Presbyterian Church of Leith. Funeral was held in Leith Orthodox Presbyterian Church, July 3, 1961…Interment was in the Church Cemetery in Leith”


2012-P-060-01            Legislative wives group photograph, Nellie Kamrath second from left in
front row, Finney’s Studio, Bismarck, ND, ca. 1925-1927    

2012-P-060-02            View of participants at Non-Partisan League convention, McFarland
photograph, Valley City, ND, March 6-7, 1934

2012-P-060-03            North Dakota Senate composite photograph of portraits, Holmboe Studio,
Bismarck, ND, 1919 (William Kamrath is not in the photograph)

2012-P-060-04            North Dakota House of Representatives composite photograph of
portraits, Slorby Studio, Bismarck, ND, 1925 (includes William Kamrath)

2012-P-060-05            North Dakota House of Representatives composite photograph of
portraits, Slorby Studio, Bismarck, ND, 1927 (includes William Kamrath)

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