The Waving Girl

Her brother was the lighthouse keeper at Cockspur Island on the Savannah River.  Florence Martus busied herself waving her handkerchief at ships as they came and went.  Because of this she became known as “The Waving Girl”.

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She lived from 1868 – 1943 at which time a monument depicting her waving at passing ships was placed at the point on which she would stand.  She welcomed over 50,000 ships during her lifetime, eventually waving a lantern to let her presence be known in the dark of night.

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It has been said that her waving tradition began when her true love never returned from the sea.  In all she waved her handkerchief or lantern for forty-four years.
The Waving Girl 4

Florence’s constant companion as a young girl was her collie dog.  He stood by her side as she hailed the arrival of ships from around the world.  Both are represented in the monument that now stands in Morrell Park.

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Today, it is said, that the ghosts of both Florence and her faithful pet, linger on in Savannah at the River Street Market.  Strange shadows are said to be seen dancing around the heavy doors at daybreak and after sunset.  People who have witnessed the shadows, the whooshing of wind as though someone passes and the mournful lament think Florence just wants to be remembered.  When the lights are out for the night a strange, mournful sound has been heard by many that seems to say, “Come back, come back, come back……”.  I’m certainly no expert on such subjects  but I know that Savannah is full of ghost stories just as St. Simons is.  It adds a bit of interest to our lives and sparks the curiosity of tourists.  I think it’s all a valuable part of our history, true or not, but I have to say that I’m quite sure I saw The Woman In White here one late spring evening.  You decide for yourself, but I like to believe there are spirits that still grace us with their presence!

3 Responses

  1. Harold Michael Harvey Says:

    I learn so much about my state by reading The Permanent Tourist.

  2. Velda Brotherton Says:

    I truly devour stories like this one. Not only a great tale for the living, but the ghost story enhances the wonderful history of the area. This reminds me of a local story of a girl who waved a blue ribbon taken from the gift of her lover, a man riding the caboose of the passing train every day. You inspire me to tell stories that I had all but forgotten. Thanks for your blog.

  3. Melissa Says:

    Thank you so much Velda, and Michael! My husband has lived on the island for so long he knows all of the interesting bits of history and lore. I owe the subject of this post to him. I’m looking forward to our next trip up to Savannah so I can see the statue and walk through the Market to see what I sense and feel! Love a great ghost story!

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