Retired Circuit Judge C. Jeffery Arnold is the grandson of J. Ray Arnold, one of Lake County’s most influential pioneers.
J. Ray founded the largest sawmill in the Southeast United States. During the years the mill ran, nearly around the clock, the Arnold family amassed great wealth and property across Central Florida. The mill was also the largest employer in Lake County until the Arnold mill burned down in May 1925.
Until the sawmill burned down, Groveland enjoyed tremendous prosperity under the Arnold family’s generosity. Arnold was a visionary who placed an emphasis on education and the community’s welfare. He recruited outstanding educational leaders and teachers to the city and built an elaborate gym that included a swimming pool, two bowling alleys, billiards and rifle range. J. Ray Arnold was known as a sharp-shooter, and the gun he always carried was passed down to his grandson.
J. Ray was convinced there was oil beneath the surface in Florida and even offshore. He drilled for oil south of Groveland in the 1930s. The well did strike oil, but not enough to be viable. (visit Groveland History)
His grandson, retired Judge Arnold, will speak about his life and his legendary family at the Groveland Historical Museum, from 11 am – 1 pm on Saturday, March 10.
Judge C. Jeffery Arnold was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1943. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam. He graduated from the College of William & Mary before getting his law degree from Florida State University.
Admission to this historical presentation is free. The museum is located at 243 S. Lake Ave.