by drinking. While diving into the work of renovating the
farmhouse, she often was alone and isolated. Solace also was
found in what she was achieving with the property.
“It was the enjoyment of resurrecting an old farmhouse
and bringing it up to modern day amenities like electricity
and plumbing,” Debra says. “And so for her, it was her little
slice of heaven because she didn’t have to be down in Fort
Pierce in the swirl of whatever TL and Diane were doing.”
Kathy also had a secret in
1970: The 16-year-old Dan
McCarty High junior was
in a relationship with John
Edgar, a man seven years
older than her who lived in
an apartment a few blocks
north of the Sloan family
home on Orange Avenue.
“I kept it a secret, but not
for long because it’s hard
to keep a secret in a small
town,” Kathy says. “I had
to be very clever about
what I did.”
Within a few months,
Kathy becomes pregnant.
She is under the legal age
of 18 and her parents refuse
to give their permission
to marry, so in January
ARNOLD FAMILY ARCHIVES
Kathy Sloan at Cattleman’s Day Parade
1971 she and Edgar elope
in Fort Pierce in the 1960s.
to Georgia, where she says she was able to produce a paper
license that showed she was 18. They had daughter, Alexis, in
Debra recalls that TL initially wasn’t going to be involved
in the baby’s life and felt so strongly that he bet Fort Pierce
housekeeper Alice Johnson a million dollars that he wouldn’t
have anything to do with the girl. But Alice told him he’d fall
in love with her once he held her in his arms and he’d grow
close to her. Alice was proved right, and repeatedly joked
with TL over the years to pay up on the million-dollar bet.
Kathy says her mother refused to have Kathy raise the baby
in Edgar’s apartment and allowed them to stay in a garage
apartment behind the Sloan home. TL eventually gave money
for Edgar to attend a technical school in Tallahassee while
Kathy remained in Fort Pierce.
The couple soon divorced and Kathy begins dating Tommy
Summerlin, whom she marries in 1973. They remain married
for 12 years and have three daughters: Tara Leighton, born
in July 1974, Myrna Anne, born in April 1978, and Grace Lee,
born in August 1981.
CREATING ‘THE COMPOUND’
After Diane’s divorce, she and her children live in the
home on Peterson Road where Jo Ann’s great-uncle, Lucius
Raulerson, who died in 1969, had lived. Meanwhile,
TL begins a campaign to purchase the houses immediately
around Jo Ann’s ancestral home at 1033 Orange Ave. so that
he would own the entire city block. The family already owns
several houses behind 1033 where Jo Ann’s great-aunts had
lived. When the land purchases are completed — except for
the purchase of one lot whose owner refuses to sell — TL’s
The ancestral Raulerson home, at right, and the former Cow Creek corporate
office, left, still stand behind the walls of the former compound on Orange
Avenue between 10th and 11th streets in Fort Pierce.
TL Sloan had a cloverleaf-shaped swimming pool installed in the compound
in 1970. The cloverleaf was the cattle brand of Cow Creek Ranch.
ROBERTSON FAMILY ARCHIVES
The Sloan family collection of German shepherds, which would patrol the
>> family’s Orange Avenue compound at night, started with a single dog.