The Brave Floy Women

An Appreciation of Winona Caroline Martin

March 25th, 2020

The Floy women were both notable and noble. Another of Jane Thacker Floy Mather's second cousins, Winona Caroline Martin, was born 21 May 1882. Like Jane and Margaret, she was also the great grand-daughter of Michael Floy, Sr.


Winona Martin was a librarian in Rockville Centre, Long Island.  At the outbreak of World War I, she worked to go to France as a YMCA canteen worker.   To a friend she said, “If I had to crawl to get there, I would go to France to serve the soldier.”


Arriving in Paris, she was hospitalized at Claude Bernard Hospital for scarlet fever (another account says bronchitis).  On 11 March 1918, the hospital was the target of a German air raid.   Winona Martin died in that air raid and is considered to be the first American woman to die in World War I as a result of enemy action.   

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Winona Caroline Martin memorialized in a poster (left) and a newspaper (right). Images courtesy of Google Images.

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Three years before going to Paris, Winona Martin authored The Story of King Arthur in Twelve Tales.  In the preface she speaks of King Arthur and “the spirit of lofty idealism…” and adds that she hopes that “this little volume…may be useful to…[those]who are endeavoring to hold before the children of a materialistic age that vision without which the people perish.”  

Winona Caroline Martin not only wrote of lofty idealism, she pursued and personified it.   Winona Caroline Martin is buried at Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial at Suresnes, Hauts-de-Seine, France.

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Martin's The Story of King Arthur in Twelve Tales ( and her marker in Hauts-de-Seine, France

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Text by Donn Smith