Saturday, January 10, 2015

Col. Sanders Was A Tough Ol' Bird...!

Often we find out that a person's back story is really more interesting than we could imagine.

Looking back at Harland Sanders before he became known as the "Colonel", we found out that he was plenty tough when he needed to be. His early start in the food industry was inerestig, to say the least. Here is a bit of his history I found over at Knowledgnuts!

Colonel Sanders Started With A Gas Station And A Shoot-Out
By Nolan Moore on Thursday, January 8, 2015

With his famous facial hair and trademark white suit, Colonel Sanders is one of the most recognizable people on the planet. But before the Colonel came up with his world-famous recipe of 11 herbs and spices, the man was running a gas station in Corbin, Kentucky. However, the Colonel almost never opened a single restaurant thanks to a trigger-happy business rival who wanted to send Sanders to the local cemetery.

In the pantheon of fast food mascots, Colonel Sanders is right up there with Ronald McDonald and The Burger King. However, unlike most of his peers, Sanders was a real guy. Born in 1896, Harland Sanders led an interesting life, working as everything from a small-time lawyer to a ferryboat operator. Eventually, he wound up in Corbin, Kentucky running a Shell gas station on a nasty stretch of highway known as “Hell’s Half-Acre.”

The region was full of bootleggers, and there were plenty of gunfights to keep things lively. Wanting to protect his family and business, Sanders kept a gun beneath his cash register and a shotgun near his bed. But really, Sanders didn’t need to worry about desperadoes. Instead, he had to keep an eye on his rival down the street, a man named Matt Stewart. Stewart ran his own gas station, and as the two were competing for customers, they didn’t exactly get along.

Things got particularly tense after Sanders decided to advertise his business by painting a sign on a nearby railroad wall. This didn’t sit well with Stewart who promptly painted over Sanders’ sign. Furious, the Colonel threatened to shoot off Stewart’s head and then went back to repaint his billboard. Unfortunately, Matt Stewart was a stubborn fellow, and one day in the late 1920s, he grabbed a brush and started slapping paint on Sanders’ sign.

When Sanders learned what Stewart was doing, he was in the middle of a meeting with two Shell officials named Robert Gibson and H.D. Shelburne. Needless to say, the three men were not happy. Determined to put a stop to Stewart’s shenanigans, the trio loaded their guns, hopped into a car, and drove off to confront their petrol-pumping adversary. Only when Stewart saw them coming, he pulled out his pistol and pumped three bullets into Robert Gibson’s heart.

That’s when the Colonel sprang into action. He grabbed Gibson’s gun and started shooting back. At first, it seemed Stewart had the advantage because he was hiding behind the railroad wall, but the man was outnumbered two to one. One moment, he was winning the gunfight, and the next, he found himself surrounded. Shelburne put a bullet into Stewart’s hip, and Sanders blasted the man in the shoulder.

Bleeding and in pain, Stewart shouted, “Don’t shoot, Sanders! You’ve killed me!” Only Stewart didn’t die. Instead, the gun-toting gasman was sentenced to 18 years in prison. Sanders and Shelburne, on the other hand, were found not guilty, and Sanders went back to his Shell station where he started serving steak, ham, biscuits, and—you guessed it—fried chicken to hungry customers. Soon, he was running a full-fledged restaurant across the street, and his food was so popular that Governor Ruby Laffoon gave Sanders the honorary title of Kentucky Colonel.

Eventually, Sanders sold his restaurant so he could develop his fast food franchise, and the rest is history. Today you can find KFC restaurants in over 80 countries and territories. As for Matt Stewart, well, after two years behind bars, he was shot to death by a deputy sheriff. No one knows for sure, but rumors has it the deputy was a paid gunman, hired to assassinate Stewart by Robert Gibson’s family.

Isn't it funny that so much of a famous persons interesting background never comes to the surface until years later? After all, it's our past that so often shapes who we turn out to be, right?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Still a little chilly and damp out on the patio.


Anonymous said...

Few would know who Colonel Sanders was if You asked anyone here, Kentucky Fried Chicken however is a bit more known. I read somewhere that they will open a restaurant here too now. I wonder why it has taken so long? We're usually great fast food customers :-)

Really interesting story!

Have a great day!

Mamahen said...

Great post, who would have guessd....-4 here this am...even a bit chilly on the inside....thinking back to bed sounds good :))

Gorges Smythe said...

As Paul Harvey used to say, "And now you know the rest of the story."

Chickenmom said...

Good story, Mr. Hermit! There is only one KFC around here and that's about 18 miles away. Eight degrees here Mamahen - You win!

JO said...

I didn't know this part of his history, thanks for posting.The food is getting very expensive so I don't stop in but once a year maybe if that.

Been a busy morning already and I have no idea what the weather is like outside.
But I never complain about coffee in your kitchen like it there.

HermitJim said...

Hey Christer...
I don't know why they took so long to open one there. Seems that it would do well!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Mamahen...
Seems like there is always something new to find out! I love doing the research!

Thanks for coming over this morning!

Hey Gorges...
I started to put that statement in this post this morning.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Hey Phyllis...
That's too far to drive just for some fried chicken, I'm thinking!

Many thanks for the visit today!

Hey Jo...
Food of any kind is getting to be expensive more and more!

Outside is cold, but I can deal with it (almost!).

Thanks, sweetie, for dropping by thos morning!

Rob said...

It's funny, I know who Colonel Sanders is and there are his franchises all over the place but I have only stopped there twice in the last 20+ years.

Dizzy-Dick said...

I was a Colonel Sanders Kentucky Fried Chicken cooker. I sure did eat my share of it.