The Online Encyclopedia of Wyoming History

A Tiny Dynamo

A Tiny Dynamo

Emma Mitchell, wife of railroader and mountaineer Finis Mitchell, who devoted his spare time to exploring the Wind River Mountains beginning in the 1930s, was probably crucial to his effort. The Mitchells’ granddaughter, Sandra Snow, remembers Emma as “a tiny little dynamo. I still miss her and all the things she said and did.”

Emma Nelson Mitchell, 1950s. She was about five feet tall. Years later, her granddaughter remembered her as 'a tiny little dynamo' and 'the glue that held all the extended family together.' American Heritage Center.When Sandra’s mother, Anna, was seriously hurt in a car accident, Emma “spent most every day by her bedside helping the nurses give her intensive care. She never complained about this or anything else she had to do. … She made sure I kept up on my school work and did not slack off.”

“She cared for and cooked for my Great Grandfather Mitchell [Finis’s father] for many years. She also helped take care of her brother and sisters after her mother died when they were young [Emma was then about 16].  I can also remember her dad coming to her house for meals and listening to the radio with him. ...When my daughter was born and I was not very well they came and stayed for a month and took care of us. I remember standing at the kitchen window crying when they drove off.”

“She always had cookies and goodies for anyone who came and visited. I doubt if anyone who knew her ever went without a meal and a cookie. I miss them both but there will never be anyone like Grandma.”

Read more about Emma’s husband, Finis Mitchell, in our article Finis Mitchell, Mountaineer.


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