Jeffersonville Rotary Club, 1921. The Colonel is back row far right.
The Rotary Club of Jeffersonville received its charter on January 1, 1920. Among its 30 charter members was Harland D. Sanders, a 29-year-old insurance agent and president of the Young Business Men’s Club (YBMC). Born September 9, 1890, near Henryville in Clark County, Indiana, Sanders was already an energetic promotor. He had organized the club in March 1919, and during the following year the YBMC promoted construction of a new Ohio River bridge, streamlining of local rail schedules, expansion of ferry and gas services, improvement of the housing supply, and extension of the Boy Scout program.
When the New Albany Rotary Club began organizing the Jeffersonville club in the fall of 1919, Sanders naturally became a charter member. Once chartered, the club threw its support behind many of the goals envisioned by Sanders and the YBMC.
Grave site of Col. Harland D. Sanders and his wife, Claudia, at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville.
Meanwhile, the YBMC merged with the Jeffersonville Chamber of Commerce, and Sanders was appointed its executive secretary. He remained in the job only a few months before leaving Jeffersonville in 1921 to take a new position. During the following decades, he held a variety of jobs before opening Sanders Court in Corbin, Kentucky, during the 1930s. There he developed the secret recipe and frying process for what became Kentucky Fried Chicken. In 1934 Governor Ruby Laffoon appointed him a Kentucky Colonel, thus the source of his title.
Throughout his sojourns, he remained a Rotarian, holding membership at various times in clubs in Lancaster, Georgetown, and Corbin, Kentucky, and Asheville, North Carolina. In 1950 Colonel Sanders spoke at the Jeffersonville club’s 30th anniversary and was an honored guest at the Golden Anniversary celebration on May 22, 1970. His death on December 16, 1980, marked the passing of the last of the club’s charter members.