The Life of Colonel Sanders: Founder of KFC

On this day, September 9 in the year 1890, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) was born in Indiana, United States. His name was Harland David Sanders, one of the best persons to symbolize the American Dream.

Colonel Sanders
Colonel Sanders (Credit:

Harland David Sanders, popularly called Colonel Sanders, is probably the most famous colonel in the world. He was the oldest of three children of a farmer and butcher. At age seven, his father passed away. As a result, he learned how to work as a farmer at an early age. He stopped going to school after grade 7 but he was good in the kitchen having learned how to cook anything for himself and for his younger siblings.

When his mother remarried, Colonel Sanders left home at 13 due in part to his unstable relationship with his stepfather. With the help of his uncle, he found work as a conductor in a streetcar company. In 1906, he faked his age and enlisted in the US Army. When he was discharged, he went around doing odd jobs and getting fired for fighting with his co-workers. Meanwhile, he studied law through correspondence. He got his license and was able to practice law but his legal career ended when he got involved in a courtroom brawl with his own client.

Colonel Sanders went back to do one odd job after another. Later, he invested his small savings in a small company to manufacture lamp but it failed miserably. Then in 1930, at the age of 40, he was offered a space in a gasoline station to put up a restaurant, rent free in return for giving the Shell Company a percentage of sales. The main offering of the restaurant was fried chicken. So successful was the business that he was commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel. In 1939, his restaurant was destroyed by a fire together with his motel building but in due time, the motel and restaurant were rebuilt.

In 1952, Colonel Sanders began to franchise his secret recipe. It was a huge success that KFC restaurants sprang up everywhere. In 1963, Colonel Sanders started his “It’s finger lickin’ good” trademark. Although he sold his business the following year for $2 million, he remained active in promoting the business.

Colonel Sanders died of pneumonia in 1980 at the age of 90. He married twice and had three children. At the time of his death, there were more than 6,000 KFC branches around the world.



  1. Wow! I really enjoyed reading about Colonel Sanders; have always loved his chicken but it has changed through the years and I don’t think it’s as good as it was when he still owned it. Thanks for sharing his story!

  2. In America and other lovely countries, it is a beautiful thing that one can achieve so much, sadly lose it all, but have the ability to rebuild it (& more) all again!!! What a man! What a life, R.I.P Mr. Harland David Sanders! What a major part of my life, I remember a tiny bit, the old commercials. My dad use to love Kentucky Fried Chicken! Later in life he believes something changed and the chicken became more greasy.

Any comment?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.