The Family Mystery of Elvira Finch Moore (August 30, 1826-April 1, 1902) Civil War Traitor?

Elvira Finch Moore- photo undated

Portrait of Elvira Finch Moore- undated

IMG_3598      Authentic Civil War Guards and Pickets Pass

Pocket behind portrait of Elvira Finch Moore



August 30, 1826-April 1, 1902

Cherry Valley is a town in Otsego County, New York, it is also the birthplace of Elvira Finch. The occurrence of Elvira in the sequel to my fictional account on John Wilkes Booth, “My Name is Mrs. John Singer” (September 2019) and the dedication in the book is to confirm her presence in my husband’s ancestry. I added Elvira Moore in this fictional novel as the friendly and kind neighbor to Annabel Dixon of Richmond.

The portrait (see portrait) of Elvira is undated and her manner of dress is in the timeframe of the mid 19th century. The portrait was given to my husband Jim and I from my mother in law Mary. The ancestry of Elvira Finch is connected through my mother in law’s aunt Imogene Moore’s grandmother.   The portrait in and of itself is compelling as the expression exhibited is unreadable both in the eyes and in the unsmiling face. What is it she could be hiding behind that gaze?   It seems there are more questions than answers as it relates to Elvira. There is a pocket behind the portrait, (see photo) and in that pocket are authentic Civil War documents specifically Guards and Pickets that were issued to Elvira from the Headquarters Provost Marshal General Defenses South of Potomac.

The questions that surround Elvira were handed down from family lure that eventually fell to me. Elvia was considered a traitor! In trying to decipher this family lure, I could only surmise that it was perhaps due to the fact that the northern born Elvira (in marrying a man from Fairfax VA John L. Moore in 1853) was supportive of her adopted south. That could explain the need for Guards and Picket Passes as well as executing her signature for the oath to the United States. (see photo) There are letters between family members dating back to 1853 as well as a correspondence during the Civil War ( 1861) yet nothing contained in these letters (that this author could decipher)   confirm or deny this family lure.

Traitor or no traitor?   I am once again compelled to the portrait, Elvira’s stern expression, forever frozen in time, eyes that almost seem to look through and past you.  For now, the mystery of Elvira remains a mystery,  and yet somehow it is to be believed, this is exactly what she would have wanted.

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