Lucinda Martin VanNess, the seventh child of John and Sarah Martin, was born in Athens County, Ohio, about 1827. That is, subtracting her stated age from various national and State censuses (taken in 1850, '56, '60, '70, and '80) yields possible birth years ranging from 1826 to 1828. Along with her parents and at least six of her siblings, Lucinda moved to northern Coles County, Illinois (later Douglas County), about 1836.
According to the on-line Illinois marriage records, Lucinda Martin married Moses VanNess in Coles County on 31 March 1847. Other records show that his middle initial was C. He had also been born in Ohio about 1826 and was the son of John and Rachel VanNess, who were shown in the 1850 census to be residing in Coles County (Greasy Creek Precinct). Twenty years earlier, the 1830 census showed a family headed by John VanNess in Logan County, Ohio, and that family did include a boy under 5 years old, so that probably is where Moses VanNess was born.
It should be noted that Moses's family name is spelled inconsistenly in the censuses and other early records. It is shown as "Vaness" in the 1850 and 1880 Federal censuses and in the Iowa State Census of 1856, "Vanesse" in the 1870 census, and "Van Ness" in the 1900 census. However, I have favored the form "VanNess" here, as it appears in the 1860 census, in the roster of the Southern Border Brigade, and in a 1923 obituary of Moses' brother John, from the Fremont County [Iowa] Herald. The early handwritten records appear even more inconsistent, because some of them use the old-fashioned "long s" (which looks like an f), hence: VanNeſs.
As of 1850, Moses and Lucinda were residing in Coles County, New Albany Precinct. Sarah Martin (now a widow) and Archelaus are listed on the same census page, and Ambrose Martin and John Martin, Jr., are on the preceding page. By 1854, when their fourth child was born, they had relocated to Iowa. The special Iowa State Census of 1856 shows them in Fremont County, Scott Township. Four years later, the 1860 Federal Census puts them in Ross Township. The family apparently remained in Fremont County through the Civil War, and Moses and his brother John both served in the local militia known as the Southern Border Brigade.
By 1870, Moses and Lucinda had relocated to Nodaway County, Missouri (across the state line, but no more than 50 miles from their previous home in Iowa). As of 1880, they had moved a few miles west into Atchison County, Missouri (which actually adjoins Fremont County, Iowa). The next available census, after 1880, is from 1900, and it shows only Moses, then a widower, living with his son John in Belleville, Republic County, Kansas. So Lucinda had passed away sometime prior to 1900, and, indeed, according to Elza Martin's letter, she had died sometime before 1897.
I know of seven children born to Moses C. VanNess and Lucinda Martin, but have been unable to learn much about their later lives, marriages, and eventual deaths:
*Sarah and her husband, Joseph Mooney, may both have died prior to 1880, as Moses and Lucinda's household in the 1880 Census includes two grandchildren: Alvin H. Mooney, age 13, and Effa Mooney, age 9. Both were born in Missouri. We know that Alvin later married Emma Mary Pettengill and died in Oklahoma in 1940. I have no information about Effa's later life.
If you can provide any additional information about Lucinda, Moses, or their descendents, feel free to contact me at the address shown in the image below.