otherwise known as Harland Sanders, was
the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken
and it's famous seasoned chicken. Although
he was always a cook, Harland, later known
as the Colonel, didn't harness his talent
for commercial use until he was over 40
years of age.
Sanders was born on September 9, 1890
in Henryville, Indiana to a butcher, Wilbert
Sanders, and a homemaker, Margaret Ann
Dunleavy. At the age of six, Sanders lost
his father and was forced to help his
mother care for his younger siblings.
Even at his young age, Sanders helped
cook and quickly mastered regional recipes
to the delight of his family.
few years later, when Sanders was in the
seventh grade, he dropped out of school
to further care for his family. Although
he worked at nearby farm for a while,
his mother remarried in order to support
the family and Sanders was forced to relocate
to suburban Indianapolis. Sanders did
not get along with his new stepfather
and moved to Clark County, Indiana soon
worked as a farmer, then a streetcar driver,
and eventually enlisted in the Army to
spend a year in Cuba. He married Josephine
King in 1908 with whom he had three children.
Their marriage ended in 1947.
he moved back to Indiana, Sanders worked
as a steamboat driver and eventually helped
on the railroad. During his time with
the railroad, Sanders began taking a correspondence
course with Southern University in order
to earn his law degree. With the help
of local officials, Sanders was able to
complete his studies and practice law
from 1915 into the 1920s in Little Rock,
Arkansas. His law career ended when he
physically fought a client in the courtroom
so Sanders decided to move to Corbin,
Kentucky and open a service station.
interacting with hungry customers, Sanders
decided to begin serving meals to travelers
who stopped at his place for gas. Since
there was no formal restaurant or eating
area at the station, Sanders served food
from a table at the station's living quarters.
Serving families and travelers gave Sanders
the idea of creating meals that people
could take with them; entire Sunday dinners
that were ready to eat and easy to carry.
his popularity grew and people got word
of his cooking, and especially his chicken,
Sanders moved his operation to a nearby
motel that could seat 142 people. Sanders
worked as a chef in his own kitchen and
began perfecting this fried chicken recipe.
In 1935, after his cooking had become
very well known around the state, Governor
Ruby Laffoon granted him the title of
Kentucky Colonel. As a result of this
title, Sanders began dressing like a "southern
gentleman" and calling himself the
Colonel as a matter of self-promotion.
the next twenty years he perfected his
fried chicken recipe of 11 herbs and spices
and made use of pressure frying the chicken
in order to speed service. By 1956, however,
Sanders was broke. The government has
built a new highway that bypassed his
Corbin store, causing the sale price to
plummet. Sanders, living off of Social
Security, took his cooker and his spices
and traveled to restaurants to convince
them to pay him to use his recipe. Smaller
restaurants were willing to pay him a
small fee for every chicken sold and,
by 1960, Sanders had over 400 "franchises".
sold his brand in 1964 but continued to
work as the spokesman for Kentucky Fried
Chicken. During his retirement he gave
much of his profit away to charities and
even adopted 78 foreign orphans. He passed
away from leukemia on December 16, 1980
in Kentucky. A museum was erected in his
name at the KFC headquarters in Louisville.
This Colonel Sanders biography
may not be reproduced online.
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