Elvira was the daughter of Leander Tolen and Sarah Ragsdale. She married in about 1882 in Jewell County, Kansas, to Everall Albert "E.A." Ross. They appear in the 1900 census of Burr Oak Township, Jewell County, Kansas. She took ownership of the "Burr Oak Herald" when her husband died in 1911 and published the newspaper with her son Harry.