Sneed’s Dago History

A post office to replace Fredonia was established in the Sprague farmhouse, under the name Dago, June 26, 1889. This farm is located a quarter of a mile east and a mile south of Cambria. Miss Lillian Augusta, 17-year-old daughter of the widow Sprague, was appointed postmistress. This appointment was to be a joke but the Post Office Department accepted the recommendation without asking her age. Sprague’s daily St. Louis Globe Democrat and Willard Kennedy’s “Youth’s Companion,” a monthly magazine, was about all the mail that Dago handled.

The place was most noted as the home of “Gussie” Sprague. She was not only the first postmaster but also the first woman to work for a coal company in Southern Illinois. She began working at Fredonia Mine in 1891. She married Thomas Newkirk, a mine employee. Newkirk was moved to Herrin and made superintendent of Number 7 Mine. Their daughter, Elsie, was Mrs. John Creek. The Creeks were two of the most beloved teachers in the Herrin School system in the first half of the century.

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(Ghost Towns of Southern Illinois, by Glenn J. Sneed, published 1977)