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TN History for Kids

Jack Massey

Jack Massey with Colonel Harland Sanders
and John Brown in 1964
PHOTO: Barbara Massey Rogers

You may not have ever heard of Jack Massey, but you’ve heard of Colonel Harland Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken. In 1964 Sanders sold his restaurant chain to Massey, a Nashville businessman, and a young lawyer named John Y. Brown Jr. Massey and Brown expanded the company, spent huge amounts of money on advertising and shifted the business into stand-alone locations (prior to that time Kentucky Fried Chicken had mainly been a menu item at sit-down restaurants). The chain grew and grew until it was the largest restaurant company in the world – larger, at that time, than McDonald’s. 

Massey later sold his share of Kentucky Fried Chicken and went on to help start two other large companies – Hospital Corporation of American, which owns hospitals, and Winner’s Corp., which at that time owned Mrs. Winner’s restaurants. Jack Massey, the Tennessean, thus became the only person in American history to ever take three companies to the New York Stock Exchange.

Jack Massey