SAVANNAH'S WAVING GIRL

FLORENCE MARTUS
1869 - 1943

Her immortality stems from her friendly greeting to passing ships, a welcome to strangers entering the port and a farewell to wave them safely onward.

For 44 years, Florence Martus (1868 - 1943) lived on nearby Elba Island with her brother, the lighthouse keeper, and no ship arrived for Savannah or departed from 1887 to 1931 without her waving a handkerchief by day or a lantern by night.  Throughout the years, the vessels in return watched for and saluted this quiet little woman.  Few people ever met her yet she became the source of romantic legends when the story of her faithful greetings was told in ports all over the world.  After her retirement the Propeller Club of Savannah, in honor of her seventieth birthday, sponsored a celebration on Cockspur Island.  A liberty ship, built in Savannah in 1943, was named for her.

Georgia Historical Commission  1958

 

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