Colonel Sanders: The Unexpected Life Of The Fast Food Pioneer

By | December 10, 2019

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Founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Colonel Harland Sanders. (Getty Images)

On December 16, 1980, the world lost a business icon and fried chicken guru when Harland David Sanders, better known as Colonel Sanders, died of leukemia. While most people today associate Colonel Sanders with Southern charm, there was much more to the man that a white suit and a black bolo tie. Let's take a look beyond the brand to see what the real Colonel Sanders was like. 

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A young Harland Sanders with his mother and siblings. (

Colonel Sanders Learned To Cook While Caring For His Young Siblings

Harland David Sanders, born in 1890 in Indiana, had a rough childhood. His father died when he was just five years old, leaving his mother nearly penniless. She took a job at the local canning factory, and while she was gone, young Harland had to care for his two younger siblings. In addition to cleaning the house and minding the children, Harland had to prepare meals for the family.