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Now in our third calendar year
PCR #110 (Vol. 3, No. 18) This edition is for the week of April 29--May 5, 2002.

La Floridiana by Will Moriaty
One of the First Families of Florida: Canova

Movie Review
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Blank Thoughts
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Matt's Rail
Mike's Rant
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TREE (Will's site)
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Before the advent of the European into Florida, there were the native Indians. They consisted of different tribes with different customs and had different names such as Timucua, Tocobaga, Caribe, and Miccosukee. Sadly, none of them exist today as identifiable entities outside of the names of golf courses, lakes, plants, housing developments and even a part of the Atlantic Ocean (the "Caribbean Sea").

By the 1500's the first Europeans arrived into Florida, primarily from Spain, Portugal, and Menorca. Amongst those first arrivals, generally limited to the area presently known as St. Augustine, were the Canovas. If travelling in the current day historical part of St. Augustine, you may well have the good fortune of walking along Canova Street where such historical homes as the Prince Murat (circa 1790), The Dow (circa 1839), and the Canova (circa 1840) were beautifully restored several years ago.

After their early arrival to the New World, the Canova family settled in and around the St. Augustine area, with some members migrating northward into southern Georgia, and others migrating southward into north central Florida.

George Paul Canova
One of the many notable Canova's was George Paul Canova, son of Bartola Canova. Bartola moved his family from Jacksonville to the Sanderson, Florida area in the mid 1800's prior to the Civil War. Sanderson is in Baker County near Interstate 10 and the Osceola National Forest. Bartola purchased large tracts of land in Baker County which were basically deeded to his son. Bartola returned to Jacksonville where he became a steam boat captain on the St. Johns River. His son, George Paul remained in the Sanderson area where he met and married Diana Greene, daughter of Sanderson pioneers Elisha and Betsy Ann Greene.

George Paul and Diana Canova became very wealthy through wise investments and with this wealth, built a home large enough to accommodate their nine boys and three girls who were educated in the Jacksonville area, and were all accomplished musicians (frightening genetics going on here, huh?). During his lifetime in Baker County, George Paul Canova was considered the wealthiest man in that County, owning ten thousand acres of grazing land, one thousand head of cattle, pine tree plantations, timber land, a large mercantile store, orange groves, a cotton gin, and a hotel. He was a twice-elected Democrat who in 1879 served on the Committee for Finance and Taxation, and chairman for the Committee on Claims.

In 1897 George, Diana, and most of their children were baptized into the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon Church). Shortly after his baptism, George Paul was sent an anonymous letter from a "Committee of Eight" threatening to "take care of him" if he didn't stop the feeding and care of Mormon missionaries. On June 5, 1898 he was ambushed south of Sanderson on his return home from a church meeting (kinda makes ya understand Nolan's conspiracy mentality a little better, huh?).

Judy and Diana Canova
George's wife Diana, stayed in the Sanderson area a few more years after his death, but moved her family away. One of George and Diana's granddaughters, Judy Canova, became a popular 1940s hillbilly movie star. Her daughter, Diana, named in honor of her great grand mother, became a recording 9another one of them gosh dern Canova musicians!)star, and played the character "Corinne" on the late 70's early 80s ABC sit-com "Soap".

Alberta Canova Drummond
Another granddaughter of George and Diana Canova was the late Alberta Canova Drummond, owner of the Drummond Press in Jacksonville. She spearheaded a drive in the 1980's to save the historic Macclenny Rail Road Depot, located in that town's Heritage Park. Macclenny is also in Baker County almost near the Jacksonville/Duval County line. .

Canovas Around the World
Today the Canova family is scattered throughout the world but often meet for Canova family reunions. In addition to this fanzine's publisher, who has practically been a life long best friend, I had the ironic good fortune to meet yet another Canova offspring. One of my Florida Department of Transportation counterparts, Dick Bush of Putnam Hall, Florida, I would find out over dinner at the Columbia Restaurant in St. Armand's Key, is married to none other than--- Jane Canova! My jaw just about hit the floor when she told her maiden name! To quote Nolan-"my life is a bucket of ironies!"

In addition to our Nolan, his late father, O. Nolan Canova, and currently living uncles, Bruce Canova of Auburndale and Bert Canova of Yalaha, Florida, were also accomplished musicians, Nolan Sr. having recorded during the 1920s and 30s (the same era that my mother recorded for Decca records with the Will Osborne band under the stage name of Lynn Davis, see "The Great American Big Bands Web Site" at http://nfo.net/.WWW/o3.html).

During the first week of March of 2002, four members of the Canova family gathered in Heritage Park in Macclenny to look over a 3,500 pound eight foot tall statue historical monument that pays homage to George Paul and Diana Canova, as well as other members of this esteemed Florida rooted family. Present at the ceremony was Jane Canova Bush (who I met in St. Armands Key, mentioned above), Nolan's uncle Bert Canova (also mentioned above), Bill Canova of Belleview, Florida (Marion County), and Viola Canova Clarke of St. George, Utah.

Further information on the Canova's can be found at Joyce Canova Seidler's home page site, "Canova Connections" at http://hometown.aol.com/joyccanova/myhomepage/heritage.html. Joyce is Nolan's cousin. Oh and just what is our Fearless Florida Folk Hero Nolan Canova's grandfather's name? Class, anyone? Why Oscar of course! Oscar Nolan Canova!

So the next time that you ponder those names of Florida's "first families', such as Hendry, Lykes, Griffin, Disston, Cone, Plant, Flagler, and Fisher, just remember who was here first--Canova!

Florida Folk Hero Allen Morris Dead at 92
Another Florida Folk Hero has died. Allen Morris, a lifetime newsman and state historian died Monday April 22, 2002 after a long illness. For more than 50 years Morris occupied an office in the Capitol either reporting on political personalities or managing operations in the House. Morris served as clerk of the state House from 1966 to 1986. He remained in the Capitol for several more years as legislative historian and clerk emeritus. Senator Bob Graham was just a boy in 1941 when he first met Morris. Graham said of Morris's passing "He leaves a legacy as a chronicler of the history of our state, which will enrich future generations."

"La Floridiana" is ©2002 by William Moriaty.  Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2002 by Nolan B. Canova.