Sunday, January 30, 2011

Florence (Flo) Pegee Skeen again

Several times a year I receive an email looking for information regarding Flo Pegee. I feel this is because if you do a search my Blog and photo pages are at the top of the list. There is very little information about her life. But many people have heard the true or untrue legends and want to know more. Below is the very little I know of her: ......... jack

To the best of my memory I met Florence (Flo) Pegee Skeen (1874 - 1960) when I was 11 or 12, I am 65 now. She ask me to move a heavy stone flower pot off her porch to the walkway. She was very nice to me and offered a dime for my work (I did not except the dime) I remember she told me I had been raised proper. In my thoughts she was a very misunderstood lady. In her prime of life she was a very attractive lady as the photo shows. Later in years she dressed in black. I think this came from her husband's death and perhaps she never recovered from this tragedy in her life. She lived in a large three story home (Washington & Tyson) in Versailles, In. Later in her life she moved to a small green painted tavern converted to her living quarters on the West of her property on Tyson Street. There are many stories about her, some may or may not be true. As I said before she dressed in black and this prompted the witch stories. One fable is that one of her last requests was to not be buried under ground. After passing her grave is in the East end of Cliff Hill Cemetery in a crypt above ground, this one may be true. On her grave it states "A Friend In Need". Draw you own conclusion from this quote. There is a story about a rope that can be seen from a window. This rope was supposed to be the one that Flo's husband or brother used to hang himself with.( I'm not sure he did hang himself) I am sure this is untrue. I seen her home very often and was inside it once and I never saw this rope. I was only on the first floor of her home, the furniture was covered and the drapes were closed to outside light. It was after dark with only a pen light to see with. I did not have permission to be there so I did not really see much. I must admit as a boy of about 13 It was spooky and I was afraid. Take the stories you hear with a grain of salt, Judge her with proof and not the legends that are told.
See the photos I have taken and collected at:

The below text is from: "Tales of Versailles" by Alan Smith Sr.

Flo Pegee or Florence Skeen was a legend in Versailles. Views differed, so it is left up to the reader how she should be judged. Flo was called a "witch" by some children because of the style in which she dressed when she was of older age. She was convicted as an abortionist in her late years, but she always claimed that she was a friend to those in need. Her father was Calvin Skeen, who ran the Hassmer House, (now the Yellow Dog) and was a prominent man in Versailles. Flo's brother shot himself at the Hassmer House when he was 20 years old. For many years Flo operated a saloon in a small green house on lot #72 on the southwest corner of Main Cross (now Tyson St.) and Washington Streets. While she ran this saloon Flo had a pet parrot named Polly. Polly was very popular with the town children and customers. Polly was trained to say some appropriate and not so appropriate phrases, but was enjoyed by most customers. Flo was a talented seamstress and made hats and clothes for many of her friends. Upon her death, she specified that she not be buried below ground. According to her wishes, she was buried in an above ground stone tomb in Cliff Hill Cemetery.