TL Sloan, with beard, shows two friends the fishing equipment aboard his
yacht, Cow Creek, at Fort Pierce Marina.
ROBERTSON FAMILY ARCHIVES
Darren Robertson on Spotty the pony at Cow Creek Ranch.
This sign, now on exhibit at the St. Lucie County Regional History
Center, is once thought to have hung on TL Sloan’s yacht.
ARNOLD FAMILY ARCHIVES
Cow Creek cowboys work calves in 1963.
Even his daughters refer to him as TL. Shirts are monogrammed
TLS and, for the cigar-smoking rancher, soon his
spittoons — placed in vehicles, offices, porches and almost
wherever he spends any time — are emblazoned TLS.
“His initials were on everything,” says Darren Robertson,
who lived at Cow Creek and would later come to consider TL
his father. “He was a clothes horse. I think he had two pair
of any boots that ever had been sold. I don’t remember how
many suits he had. He had the boots and the belts. That was
him. He liked to stand out with the big cigar and the dark
glasses, and I don’t mean that in any bad way.”
For a man of such esteem, a lifestyle is needed to match. As
an amateur pilot, TL purchases a Cessna and then graduates
to a Helio Courier, a type of plane that can fly at low speeds
and take off and land on a short runway — perfect for ranching
— and then purchases a twin-engine Piper Navajo and
hires a pilot. He has two runways installed on the ranch —
one at the headquarters on the south side and another on the
Living at the ranch, Darren recalls the wonderful smells
coming out of the bunkhouse kitchen in the morning,
where he’d eat before heading off to school. He remembers
TL flying his plane, while he and the other kids ran to the
“He would sit and run his engine for awhile,” Darren says.
“We kids would sit on barrels, he’d turn around and run his
engine and blow us off the barrels.”
One day while Darren was hanging out at the runway, TL
offered to take him for a ride. “He popped the door open and
told me to come on in,” he says. “We flew to the Fort Pierce
airport, and we ate dinner at his mother Honey’s house. I
remember him calling my mom at the office and telling her, ‘I
have your youngest son. I took him for a ride in the airplane.’ ”
Besides his planes, TL buys a 48-foot Pacemaker yacht and
christens it the Cow Creek, with its transom flashing the boat’s
name in one of the most prominent spots in the Fort Pierce