By Jennifer Putzier, Curator. The article originally appeared in the Aurora Historical Society e-news, Feburary 2010 edition
Daniel Wedge (b. 10/26/1841, d. 10/26/1947) was Aurora’s last surviving veteran of the Civil War. He was born in Ohio, and came to Illinois at the age of 10. His family settled in the Kewanee area. At the age of 19, Wedge enlisted as a volunteer in the 17th Illinois regiment at the outbreak of the war, which after 3 years merged with the 8th Illinois regiment. According to reports, during his service he often stood guard outside General Grant’s tent, and saw action throughout the war, participating in 26 engagements.
Though not a native Auroran, Wedge moved to Aurora in 1875 with his wife, Emma, to work at the Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad. He worked as a laborer, machinist, brakeman, and finally ended his career as a conductor at age 76, in 1920.
Wedge was an active member of the Grand Army of the Republic, the veterans group of the Civil War. He became commander of the Aurora GAR post in 1924, and as of 1938 was the last Civil War veteran of the post. Although he was left infirm by a fall in 1929, Wedge still participated in parades and events, often leading the Memorial Day Parade from a decorated ambulance.