The Tellico farmhouse outside
Franklin, N.C., as it appears today.
shop. TL and Jo Ann purchased Tellico from the Ramsey family.
The Tellico Creek runs through the property, which is
also known for the Tellico white oak, considered one of the
largest oaks in the region and a legendary meeting place for
With the purchase of Tellico, Jo Ann begins spending more
time in North Carolina than in Fort Pierce, with TL flying in
for frequent visits, working on refurbishing the farmhouse —
it had no electricity or indoor plumbing — and improving the
landscaping at the farm. They set about a plan to install miles
of natural stone walls throughout the property.
Meanwhile, TL is spending less time overseeing the ranch.
Once handling the marking and branding of cattle as the herd’s
owner, he allows others to take on the duty. “I don’t know if he
lost interest,” says Steve Arnold. “He was there all the time and
then for awhile it seemed like he wasn’t showing up.”
FAMILY SECRETS UNFOLD
In 1970, at about the age of 15 and visiting Fort Pierce during
one of her breaks from the Bartram School in Jacksonville,
Debra shares a secret with her parents. Always considered a
tomboy and big for her age, she shares the news with TL and
Jo Ann that she is gay.
Debra says her father was outraged while her mother was
more accepting. “TL’s response was, ‘You’re going to go down
and see Uncle Jack and have a talk with him,’ ” Debra recalls.
Uncle Jack was Riviera Beach psychiatrist Dr. Jack Wright.
Wright, an avid hunter, had become friends with TL through
the orthopedist who treated TL for the severe injuries and
chronic pain he suffered to the same leg, first from a car accident
GREGORY ENNS PHOTOS
in 1958 and then with a bull charging him in a pasture >> The Sloans erected miles of stone walls throughout Tellico.