Years of business overextension and extravagant
spending diminishes the Cow Creek brand
END OF AN ERA
PICKERING FAMILY ARCHIVES
The Sloan family in the 1960s near their home on Orange Avenue. Jo Ann and TL are in the middle; Kathy is on the left; and Debra on the right.
As 1970 arrives, the TL Sloan family of Fort Pierce is
Tommy has established himself as one of the
preeminent cattle ranchers in the nation. He is in
line to become president of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association
and two years earlier, with wife Jo Ann at his side, he
is depicted as a model rancher in a profile on the national
ABC television show Discovery. An amateur pilot, he spreads
his wings, using his plane both to manage his ranch and to
expand his presence in the region.
The boy who grew up in a modest home by the railroad
tracks on Avenue E in Fort Pierce in 1952 had married St. Lucie
County’s wealthiest maiden, Jo Ann Raulerson, sole heir to
all that her grandfather, wealthy cattle rancher Frank Raulerson,
had accumulated. The family jewel: his 23,000-acre
Cow Creek Ranch spreading over the borders of St. Lucie and
Tommy is on high-profile nonprofit boards and appears in
the newspaper frequently. Seemingly, his only setback is an
unsuccessful run for the state Legislature in 1966.
THE MAKING OF TL
As he approaches 40, he is more confident and authoritative.
One sign of this is that both family and some friends
begin to refer to him as TL, for Thomas Leighton, instead of
the more casual Tommy. >>