Emily McFaddin McCan, or "Emma" as she was known within the community (or as "Emmie" to family), was the daughter of an eminent cattle baron, James Alfred McFaddin (1840-1916). The McFaddins were a family of means and consequence in South Texas, with significant land holdings in Victoria and substantial wealth built through cattle and mercantile ventures. Cultured and well-educated, Emma maintained an avid interest in the arts, becoming an avocational painter of sound ability. She had married James McCan (a painter and art instructor) in 1897, and the couple had moved to Victoria into a home built as a wedding gift by her father. She retained her art studio in the house. In 1916, Emma divorced James McCan, and in November 1917, she married Royston Nave. Although there was a 10-year difference in their ages, Emily being the older, they were devoted to each other, traveling the world and settling for a time in New York before returning to Victoria in the 1920s. She was very involved in the Suffrage Movement. Although Emma and Royston never had any children together, she had one son, Claude Kerry McCan, with her first husband, James. Her grandchildren are Kerry McCan, who passed away in April of 2016, and Sue Cannon, who still lives in Denver. James F. McCan was a noted Texas painter, and he would paint portraits of Emily's father, mother, and uncle at the ranch. He was also an art mentor to Royston Nave.
In 1932, soon after her husband's passing, Mrs. Nave contracted San Antonio architects Atlee and Robert Ayres to design and build what is now the Nave Museum. It was a generous gesture for the community and a lasting testament to her husband's body of work. The Parthenon inspired the building and was accorded significant attention upon its opening.
In February of 1933, the Victoria Advocate reported on the visit of a group of prominent San Antonio artists and patrons and their pilgrimage to inspect Victoria's new art facility and pay their respects to Royston and Emma Nave. The attendants that day included many of the state's most accomplished painters and art patrons, and their presence spoke volumes of Nave's stature and influence within his native state at the time of his passing. Emma died on March 28, 1943, at her home after an illness of about four months. She was 67 years old.
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