Harland Sanders

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Harland David Sanders, better known as Colonel Sanders (September 9, 1890 – December 16, 1980) was an American entrepreneur who founded Kentucky Fried Chicken. His image is omnipresent in the chain's advertising and packaging, and his name is sometimes used as a synonym for the Kentucky Fried Chicken product or restaurant itself.


Early life and career

Sanders was born to a Presbyterian family in Henryville, Indiana. His father, Wilbur David Sanders, died when Harland was five years old, and, since his mother worked, he was required to cook for his family. He dropped out of school in seventh grade. When his mother remarried, he ran away from home because his stepfather beat him.[citation needed] Sanders enlisted in the United States Army at the age of sixteen (by falsifying his date of birth on his enlistment application), and completed his entire service commitment in Cuba.[citation needed] During his early years, Sanders held many jobs, including: steamboat pilot, insurance salesman, railroad fireman and farmer.[2] He had a son, Harland, Jr., who died at an early age, and two daughters, Margaret Sanders and Mildred Sanders Ruggles.[3][4]

At the age of 40, Sanders cooked chicken dishes and other meals for people who stopped at his service station in Corbin, Kentucky. Since he did not have a restaurant, he served customers in his living quarters located at the service station. His local popularity grew, and Sanders moved to a motel and restaurant (seated 142 people) where he worked as the chef. Over the next nine years, he developed his "secret recipe" for frying chicken. He made use of a pressure fryer that allowed the chicken to be cooked much faster than by pan frying.

He was given the honorary title "Kentucky Colonel" in 1935 by Governor Ruby Laffoon. He was "re-commissioned" as such in 1950 by Governor Lawrence Wetherby.[5]

It wasn't until 1950 that Sanders began developing his distinctive appearance, growing his trademark mustache and goatee and donning a white suit and string tie.[5] He never wore anything else in public during the last 20 years of his life, using a heavy wool suit in the winter and a light cotton suit in the summer.[2]

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