Charles Sando Karnes - "Digger"
(Son of John Moses Karnes)

(May 17, 1914 December 19, 1965)


Wife: Helen Marshal Karnes (March 19, 1915 - March 23, 2003)

  • Sue Ellen Karnes (June 2, 1939 ?)


Charles got the name "Digger" when he was young and digging outside the hotel of John Moses Karnes in Senath, and someone remarked "look at that little dirt digger". The name stuck from then on, and his mother was disappointed because she wanted him to be called "Sando", her maiden name. It was the height of the depression when Digger graduated from high school. He and several friends bought Chevrolet and drove to Key West, and then continued to travel around the eastern United States for a while. When he returned to Senath he went into the grocery business. He operated the H and K Market for a few a few years until it folded. A year or so later he started another grocery store, "Diggers Market". At that time, the town of Senath would only support one of each type of business at best, so things rarely had official names, they were just "the market", "the drug store" or the like. Somewhere in the late 30's he was married. He operated the market till the start of World War II. In the war, Digger served in the European Theater of Operations. The most notable operation he was involved with was the crossing of the Rhine at the bridge at Remagen. He may have received a purple heart during that operation. After returning from the war, he was involved in construction other types of work. After John Moses Karnes passed away, Digger was mainly involved in operating the estate until his death in 1965.

His daughter Sue Ellen, married Ralph(?) Hayes, moved to Memphis and had two daughters. Hayes was a stock broker. Sue Ellen and Hayes were later divorced. Sue Ellen remained in Memphis teaching in public school. She raised the girls, who both became doctors. One was a PhD and one was a veterinarian.

Some time in approximately 2000 Sue Ellen met a man from California. They were married and she moved to California where she still resides today (2006).

Charles "Digger" Karnes and his wife Helen are buried at the Lulu Cemetery South of Senath. In addition to his family headstone, there is also a military headstone for his service during World War II.