Before it became the world’s second-largest fast-food chain, Kentucky Fried Chicken was the brainchild of a man named Harland Sanders, who cooked up simple country dishes at a roadside gas station.

When Colonel Sanders was six years old, his father passed away. He lost his father, so his mother takes the responsibility of children. Colonel mother works full day, that’s why he has to take care of his siblings. So at the age of 6, he started cooking and taking care of his family. At the age of 7, he becomes a skilled cook. When he was ten years old, he began work on a farm.

After two years his mother remarried to a violent man who didn’t like kids. So Sanders decided to left home, he was 13 years old when he dropped out the school and home and looked at a painting horse carriages job. In 15 he joined the US army and when was 18 he got married and started a family. He had two daughters and a son. But sadly his son deads at a very young age. His wife left him after this incident. Colonel Sanders spent his half-life in working many odd jobs includes insurance, tires seller, farmer, steamboat pilot, secretary, lawyer and much more.

Sanders, who falsified his birth date in order to enlist in the U.S. Army in 1906, served in Cuba for several months before his honorable discharge. In 1935, Kentucky Governor Ruby Laffoon issued a ceremonial decree that commissioned Sanders as an honorary colonel. After a second honorary commission in 1949, Sanders embraced the title and tried to look the part by growing facial hair and donning a black frock coat and string tie. Soon after, the colonel switched to a white suit, which helped to hide flour stains, and bleached his mustache and goatee to match his white hair.

The hotheaded Sanders never backed down from a fight, which served him well in the rough-and-tumble “Hell’s Half-Acre” neighborhood that surrounded his Shell Oil gas station. Sanders had an extremely varied résumé before finding success in the fried-chicken business in his 60s. As a young man, he toiled as a farmhand and streetcar conductor before working for railroad companies across the South. Aspiring to be the next Clarence Darrow, Sanders studied law by correspondence and practiced in justice-of-the-peace courts in Arkansas until a courtroom brawl with a client derailed his legal career. He operated a steamboat ferry that crossed the Ohio River between Kentucky and Indiana, and he sold life insurance and automobile tires. During his time in Corbin, Sanders even delivered babies. “There was nobody else to do it,” Sanders recounted in his autobiography. “The husbands couldn’t afford a doctor when their wives were pregnant.”

Sanders was 65 and reliant on a $105-a-month Social Security check when he incorporated Kentucky Fried Chicken and began driving his 1946 Ford around the country signing up new franchisees.

Sanders sold Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1964, and after food conglomerate, Heublein purchased the company in 1971, the cantankerous colonel began to deride the chain’s gravy as “slop” and its owners as “a bunch of boozehounds.” Although still the public face of the company, Sanders so disliked Kentucky Fried Chicken’s food that he developed plans to franchise “The Colonel’s Lady’s Dinner House” restaurant—which he opened with his wife in Shelbyville, Kentucky, in 1968—as a competitor. When Heublein threatened to block the plan, Sanders sued for $122 million. The two sides settled out of court, with Sanders receiving $1 million and a chance to give a cooking lesson to Heublein executives in return for his promise to stop criticizing Kentucky Fried Chicken’s food. The renamed “Claudia Sanders Dinner House” was allowed to remain open and is still in operation.

27 Inspirational Colonel Sanders Quotes
“I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it. I know.”
“Wealth, like happiness, is never attained when sought after directly. It comes as a byproduct of providing a useful service.”
“The easy way is efficacious and speedy, the hard way arduous and long. But, as the clock ticks, the easy way becomes harder and the hard way becomes easier.”
“People are just like farm equipment. They rust out quicker than they wear out.”
“I think a dream is just a suggestion to start something out, do something.”


Image courtesy John Olson / The LIFE Images Collection / Getty Images

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