Moses Karnes

(~1788 - September 12, 1863)

Wife: Sarah Scallorn (March 25, 1791 - August 12, 1864)

Birthplace Charles Co. MD 4, Married 7 September, 1815 2 4.


Adam Karnes (1812 - ?) 1 2

Absolum Karnes (August 23, 1817 - August 23,1903)

Abraham Karnes (December 15, 1819 - June 7, 1876)

Jane Karnes (1823 – ?) 1 (1822 - ?) 2

Martha Karnes (1824 - ?) 1 2

Elizabeth Karnes (1830 - ?)

Minerva Karnes (1828 - ?) 1 2

John Karnes (June 27, 1831 - June 27,1887)

Sarah Karnes (1833 - ?) 2

William M. Karnes (1836 - ?) 2

Julia A.F. Karnes (1839 - ?) 2

Moses Karnes and Sarah were married on 7 September, 1815 2 4 in Wayne Co. Ky. 4 This puts the birth of Adam Karnes in 1812, before their wedding, which I do not have an explanation for at this time.

Moses Karnes has presented quite a challenge in my research. For the time period, he was quite a mover. He was Born in Virginia in approximately 1790, Married in Kentucky in approximately 1815, Lived in Alabama during the period 1819-1821, appears to have moved to Tennessee some time before 1836, and finally appears in the 1860 Census for Gibson County Tennessee. The main thrust of my research at this point is to continue locating information on Moses Karnes, his ancestors, and the family lines descended from him other than my own, which is nearly complete.

I first believed that Moses Karnes may be buried in the Friendship Cemetery in the Milan Army Ammunition plant in Milan, Tennessee, but I have since discovered a document that makes reference to a "Karnes Cemetery" just to the west of the Friendship Cemetery and indicates the following data which I used to derive the dates above for Moses and Sarah:


 KARNES, Moses Sept. 12, 1863
Aged 76 Years
 KARNES, Sarah Aug. 12, 1864
Aged 73 Y'rs 4 Mo's 18 Da's
 GARDENNER, J. E. Nov. 12, 1823 Feb. 14, 1846
 HOLT, Parthnea J., Wife of J. M.
 May 1, 1829 Sept. 4, 1863
 There are several unmarked graves in this cemetery.
Read by Sis Koelz, Jere Cox and Emily B. Walker February 7, 1992

Unfortunately I do not have any details on the exact location of this cemetery so that will be part of my further research.



Census Data:

There does not appear to be any mention of Moses Karnes or any Karnes (Karns, Carnes, or Carns) in the 1830 or 1850 census for Gibson County, Tennessee. The 1860 Census for Gibson County, Tennessee, District 1, lists the following:

111.KARNES,Moses  70  M   W      FARMER          5,000         25,000           VA
Sarah 68 F NC
Julia 22 M TN

The columns are Name, Age, Sex, Race, Occupation, Real Tax, Personal Tax, and PLace of Birth. The names match, and the dates are reasonably close to the information I had been given previously. This information would put the birth of Moses Karnes in approximately 1790 in Virginia, and Sarah's birth in approximately 1792 in North Carolina. The listing of Julia as male is perhaps a typographical error in the transcription and something I need to verify when I personally view the records.

The same census document also lists:

110.KARNES,W.     24  M   W      FARMER                               300pp     TN 
Martha 24 F TN
Moses 2 M TN
Susan 7 F TN
William 6 M TN

It seems likely that this is William M. Karnes, one of Moses' Children. William then appears in later census documents in southeast Missouri and is also mentioned in the autobiography of John Moses Karnes as living in Southeast Missouri in approximately 1880.

There is no mention of Moses Karnes in the 1870 Census for Gibson County, which is what I would expect based on the date of his passing being approximately 1865. The 1870 Census for Gibson County, Tennessee, District 1, does mention several Karnes households:

142 KARNES         Abe        49  M W       farmer             3000      2300     ALA   13
KARNES Martha A 45 F W keeps hse TN 14
KARNES Martha C 15 F W at home TN 15
KARNES Moses Thos 13 M W farm lab TN 16
KARNES James 11 M W farm lab TN 17
KARNES Southson 9 M W farm lab TN 18
KARNES Alice Brown 2 F W at home TN 19
SCIUICOUS? Lee 35 F W at home TN 20
WEBB S 19 M B farm lab TN 21
HOOPER Sarah 35 F W at home TN 22
143 KARNES Wm. 24 M W farmer 800 225 TN 23
KARNES Lavinia 21 F W keeps hse TN 24
KARNES James E. 3 M W at home TN 25
KARNES Martha 10/12 F W at home TN 26
144 KARNES Abe 51 M W farmer 500 ALA 27
KARNES Rebecca 27 F W keeps hse TN 28
KARNES Artina 17 F W at home TN 29
KARNES Elizabeth 4 F W at home TN 30
KARNES Libby 3 F W at home TN 31
KARNES Phebe 2 F W at home TN 32
KARNES Thomas 3/12 M W at home TN 33

147 KARNES Julia A. 33 F W at home TN 40
-----------------------------------Page Break--------------------------------------------- 147 KARNES Mary 11 F W at home TN 1
BUTLER Van B 28 M W farmer TN 2
BUTLER Martha 24 F W keeps hse TN 3
BUTLER Ida 3 F W at home TN 4
BUTLER Louisa 5 F W at home TN 5
BUTLER William 2 M W at home TN 6
BUTLER Alice 6/12 F W at home TN 7 185 KARNES M.H. 22 M W farmer 1600 200 TN 10
KARNES Carolina 21 F W keeps hse TN 11
KARNES James 1 M W at home TN 12
WIES 23 M W farm lab Ms 13
186 KARNES M. 46 M W farmer 4000 1000 TN 14
KARNES Betty 42 F W keeps hse TN 15
KARNES John 23 M W teacher TN 16
KARNES William 21 M W farm lab TN 17
KARNES James 19 M W farm lab TN 18
KARNES Thomas 13 M W farm lab TN 19
KARNES Fannie 8 F W at home TN 20
KARNES Usther 6 M W at home TN 21
KARNES Mary 4 F W at home TN 22

The columns for the 1870 Census were Dwelling Number, Surname, Given Name, Age, Sex, Color, Occupation, Property Real, Owned Pers, Birth Place, and Line Number.

The first household listed (142) matches the information I have located for Abraham Karnes, one of Moses' children. The second Household (143), Wm. Karnes, is likely the son of either Abraham or Absolum Karnes based on the proximity of the households and the age. The third Household listed (144), is likely to be Absolum Karnes, another of Moses' Children. The fourth Household (147), is likely to be Julia Karnes, the Daughter of Moses Karnes that was listed as living with Moses in the 1860 Census.

The two remaining households (185 and 186) are not a direct match for any of the family information that I currently have. Based on the dates, household 186, M. Karnes, could be the son of moses Karnes, but I do not have information on any male children with an "M" name. Some of my original data indicated that there was a daughter of Moses Karnes named Martha born in approximately 1824. These dates match, so perhaps my original data was wrong and the name was not Martha, but another "M" name, or Martha could have been male. Based on the proximity of the households, I would assume that M.H. Karnes, household 185, is likely to be the son of M. Karnes from household 186.

Perhaps most interesting from all of the 1870 Census data is the Birthplace column. The birthplace of both Abraham and Absolum is listed as Alabama. This would place Moses Karnes and his wife in Alabama in approximately the 1819-1821 timeframe. Furthermore, if the M. Karnes listed is also one of the children of Moses Karnes, their place of birth being listed as Tennessee would mean that Moses Karnes moved to Tennessee somewhere in the 1821-1824 timeframe. Julia Karnes' place of birth is listed as Tennessee, so the family was definitely in Tennessee by 1837 although the first Gibson County census in which Moses Karnes appears is the 1860 Census

The 1880 Census for Gibson County, Tennessee, District 1, mentions only one Karnes Household:

174     William KARNES            W    M    35      Head       M       Farmer           TN       AL      TN
Lavina KARNES W F 31 Wife M Keeps House TN TN TN
Emerson KARNES W M 12 Son S Works On Farm TN TN TN
Permelia KARNES W F 10 Dau S At Home TN TN TN
Robert KARNES W M 9 Son S TN TN TN
Charlie KARNES W M 7 Son S TN TN TN
Samuel KARNES W M 3 Son S TN TN TN

The columns for the 1880 Census are Family Number, Name, Race, Sex, Age, Relation, Marital Status, Occupation, Place of Birth, Father Place of Birth, and Mother Place of Birth. This is the same William Karnes listed in the 1870 Census in household 143. Further evidence that his father was either Abraham or Absolum comes from the father's place of birth column, which indicates Alabama, the birthplace of both Abraham and Absolum.

Marriage Data:

There are several Marriage records for The children of Moses Karnes listed in Gibson County, Tennessee, including:

KARNES, Abraham            marr.          MCKELVY, Martha             on 27-FEB-1843
KARNES, John marr. SAINFORD, Cynthia on 21-JUL-1851
KARNES, Manirva marr. SANDFORD, Jessee on 24-FEB-1846

The spelling of Cynthia Sainford also appears as Samford in some transcriptions and sources. I have also seen Rebecca Brogden's last name as Brodgen.


1 – Information provided by John M. Karnes in a posting on

2 – Information provided by Dennis Heathcock in a posting on

4 – Information provided by Miss Ellie in a posting on

ItalicsInformation not verified by my direct family or public records