Elsie Dinsmore Travilla is the central character of the Elsie Dinsmore novels. The series details

Elsie Dinsmore


ca. 1837



Marital Status





Protestant Christian




Edward Travilla


Elsie Leland, Horace Edward Travilla, Violet Raymond, Harold Travilla, Herbert Travilla, Lily Travilla, Rose Croly, Walter Travilla


Horace Dinsmore (father), Elsie Grayson (mother), Rose Dinsmore stepmother),


Horace Dinsmore Jr, Rose 'Rosebud' Lacey

Elsie's struggles to be a meek, gentle person with Christian values while everyone else around her seems to follow the ways of the world.

Elsie is the wife of Edward Travilla,with whom she shares eight children: Elsie, Horace Edward, Violet, Harold, Herbert, Lily, Rose, and Walter. She is the only child of Horace Dinsmore and Elspeth Grayson. Her father eventually marries Rose Allison, the beloved best friend of his sister, Adelaide. Rose becomes Elsie's stepmother and gives Elsie two younger siblings, Horace jr. and Rosebud.


Early LifeEdit

Elsie was born around the year 1837 to Horace Dinsmore and Elspeth 'Elsie' Grayson. Horace's parents opposed the match, thinking Elsie beneath him because her father acquired his wealth by trade, and they broke them up. Horace was sent to Europe and did not see the child for many years.

Elsie Grayson died a week after giving birth to her daughter. She gave the infant Elsie into the care of her mammy, a slave woman named Chloe, and Mrs. Murray her pious Scotch housekeeper. Upon her deathbed, Elsie instructed Chloe to raise the little girl up to love the Lord, a command which Chloe took very seriously.

Elsie remained at Viamede, her mother's home, until she was four years old, when her mother's guardian died and her paternal grandfather came and took her to Roselands to live and grow up alongside his children, most of whom were close to her in age. However, her life there was not the happy one she'd been accustomed to at Viamede. In fact, her young uncle Arthur made life difficult for her and tried to get her into trouble as much as possible, and her aunt Enna, who was a year or two younger than Elsie, stole things from Elsie and treated her like a slave, much to the satisfaction of her mother, Mrs. Dinsmore.

Physical AppearanceEdit

Elsie is described as a great beauty, of whom many are jealous. She has honey brown curls and soft hazel eyes which are often clouded with tears of joy, sympathy, and/or sadness. She grew up to be tall, fair, and graceful. Though she blushes at flattery, she has often been praised for her utter loveliness.

Mrs. Dinsmore, her step-grandmother, saw Elsie as a rival to her own daughters, despising her for her flawlessness. Many of Horace's friends mentioned to him their admiration for his daughter. Elsie was also the object of the affections of three different suitors: Herbert Carrington, her childhood friend; Harold Allison, her stepmother's younger brother; and Edward Travilla, her father's best friend whom she eventually married.

Personality Edit

Elsie is generally noted to be meek and gentle, deeply affectionate, and extremely pious. She is a devoted Christian, which is the reason for her scrupulous character. A very sensitive little girl, she is seen dissolving into tears at even as little as a mean look or a harsh word. As nearly perfect as she may seem, she does often struggle to control her temper when she is treated unjustly. Still, it is the same sense of justice that upholds her honesty, and she freely admits her wrongdoings on numerous occasions. Not only that, but she always stands up for anyone wrongly accused.

Elsie has a sympathetic nature, too, for she hates to see any living creature, human or otherwise, harmed in any way. That once got her into trouble with her father, who cruelly punished her for releasing a hummingbird he had taken great pains to catch. Of course, she had not known it was her father's bird, she had only meant to free a poor, helpless creature from torture, and yet she would not let anyone else take the blame for it.

Personal Life Edit

Elsie grew up and married Edward Travilla, having known him for twelve years.* Her daughter, Elsie, and son, Horace Edward, were born not long after her marriage. She had another daughter, Violet, just before the Civil War broke out in the United States. The Travillas took an extended holiday in Europe to avoid the war, and there two more sons, Harold and Herbert, were born to Elsie and her husband.

At the end of the war, the Travillas returned home to Ion to rebuild their lives there in Virginia. Elsie gave birth to three more children, Lily, Rose, and Walter, in the years that followed. Lily died at age seven from a sudden, unspecified illness, which caused the family much grief. Not many years later, Elsie was widowed when Edward became ill and passed away.

When her younger brother, Horace Jr, came of age and inherited the Dinsmore estate, Elsie invited her father and stepmother to come and live with her and her children at Ion. Their company helped fill the gap made by the loss of her husband's presence there.

Before her marriage, Elsie came of age and inherited, Viamede, her mother's vast plantation in Louisiana. She likes to vacation there quite frequently with her family.