The History of Colonel Harland Sanders and His Kentucky Fried Chicken

Colonel Harland Sanders is known around the world for his famous “finger lickin’ good” Kentucky Fried Chicken. His chicken, made from a special recipe that includes eleven herbs and spices, is served every day in restaurants that bear his likeness on the buildings. These establishments span the United States. You can even find his chicken in more than eighty other countries. Kentucky Fried Chicken is one of the largest fast food corporations in the world.

If you had ever seen the Colonel once, you would have known what he always looked like. With a pair of glasses perched on his nose, he could easily be identified by his clean, white attire. Sanders always wore a suit, a black string tie, and he walked with a cane.

While most successful men start their careers at an early age, Harland Sanders’ story actually begins when he was sixty-five years old. He had spent many years of his life operating a restaurant. However, once he quit the food business and sat back to relax in retirement, he found himself penniless. When the Colonel received his first Social Security check in the amount of $105.00, he knew he had to get out of his rocking chair and do something to earn some real money.

Harland Sanders’ life began in September of 1890. He was the oldest child in a family of five. His father labored in the coal mines of Kentucky in order to support his family. Unfortunately, the mining work took a toll on the elder Sanders, and he passed away at an early age. Young Harland was just six years old at the time.

His father’s death left the responsibility of supporting the family to Mrs. Sanders. So, she took a job in a shirt factory. That left young Harland at home to take care of his younger brother and sister. His mother taught him how to cook the family’s meals. One of the meals she taught him to make was her incredibly delicious fried chicken.

When Sanders became old enough, he helped support his family by working as a farm hand. Then, he moved on to become a streetcar conductor while he was still a teenager. From there, Sanders took a job as a fireman on the railroad. He finally ended up operating a restaurant. Sanders utilized the recipes and the cooking skills his mother had taught him to feed hungry travelers. His special meal was, of course, fried chicken. He seasoned the poultry with his original blend of eleven herbs and spices.

Harland Sanders’ cooking was a hit, and word of his success made its way around the state of Kentucky. His recipes became so famous, in fact, that, in the year of 1935, when Sanders was just forty-five years old, then Governor Ruby Laffoon named him a Kentucky Colonel.

Now known as, “Colonel Harland Sanders”, the middle-aged cook continued to run his restaurant for many more years. However, when the 1950’s came, bad news in the form of “progress” also came his way. Sanders got word that a new highway was going to be constructed. The highway would surely divert the majority of the traffic away from town…away from the town where Sanders’ restaurant was located. Sanders saw the “writing on the wall”. So, he closed his restaurant and he retired.

Upon receiving his first Social Security check in the amount of $105.00, Colonel Harland Sanders decided to chuck his rocking chair and get back to work instead. He rounded up some investors and, the Kentucky Fried Chicken industry was born.

Sanders ran his successful business for several years until, when he reached eighty years old, he was forced to finally retire because of ill health.

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