Colonel’s Story


Colonel Harland Sanders is an American entrepreneur who founded the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurant chain. KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) is one of the oldest fast food restaurant chains in the United States. It is famous for its fried chicken to the whole world.

Colonel Harland Sanders was born on September 9, 1890, in Henryville, Indiana. His childhood was tough. First, he was not the only child in the family, which was not very rich. He was the oldest of three children born to Wilbur David and Margaret Ann Sanders. In 1896 his father passed away, forcing his mother to work to support the family. Because of this, young Harland found himself taking care of his younger siblings and doing much of the family’s cooking when he was only six years old. He had a natural talent and just a year later had already mastered several regional dishes. Since these factors have contributed to the development of Sanders as the chef. All the relatives began to notice that the little boy was a real talent in this case.

Despite his aptitude and passion for cooking, over the next 30 years, Sanders explored several different career paths. He volunteered for the U.S. Army at the age of 15 years. He served a full term and ended his service in Cuba. During his early years Sanders had to work as a steamboat pilot, insurance agent, farmer and etc. Finally, he found a good regular job as a fireman in the U.S. railway company.

At age 40, Sanders was running a service station in Kentucky, where he would also feed hungry travelers. He eventually moved his operation to a restaurant across the street. He bought a service station, motel and cafe at Corbin, a town in Kentucky about 25 miles from the Tennessee border. It must be noted that Harland seriously thought about the location of his service station, selecting the best place for it.

He started travelling by car to different restaurants and cooked his fried chicken on the spot for restaurant owners. If the owner liked the chicken, they would enter into a handshake agreement to sell the Colonel’s chicken. He was turned down one-thousand and nine times before his chicken was accepted once!

As Sanders’ fame grew, Governor Ruby Laffoon made him a Kentucky Colonel in 1935 in recognition of his contributions to the state’s cuisine. In 1949, Sanders was honored once again with the title of Kentucky colonel, this time by Lieutenant Governor Lawrence Wetherby.

After closing the restaurant in 1952, Sanders devoted himself to franchising his chicken business.
By 1964, Colonel Sanders had 600 franchises selling his trademark chicken. At this time, he sold his company for $2 million dollars but remained as a spokesperson. In 1976, the Colonel was ranked as the world’s second most recognizable celebrity.

Sanders continued to visit the KFC restaurants around the world as a spokesman in his later years. Until he was fatally stricken with leukemia in 1980 at the age of 90, the Colonel traveled 250,000 Miles a year visiting KFC restaurants around the world

He died on December 16, 1980, at the age of 90, in Louisville, Kentucky.

It’s amazing how the man started at the age of 65, when most retire, and built a global empire out of fried chicken.