Page 713, ILLINOIS HISTORICAL, DOUGLAS COUNTY BIOGRAPHICAL, Editor John W. King, Chicago, Munsell Publishing Company, 1910
GOMEL, ORLANDO – The changes the past half century has effected are remarkable, and not fully appreciated by those who have not passed through them. One of the men who has participated in them in Douglas County is Orlando Gomel, of Section 10, Sargent Tyownship, who was born on the farm he now occupies, in 1844, a son of John Gomel, who was born in Germany and died in Oakland, Ill., aged 83 years. When a young man, John Gomel emigrated to the United States, first settling in Ross County, Ohio, where he was married, and then he and his wife drove through to Illinois in a covered wagon. They entered the land on Section 10 now owened by their son Orlando. Adding from time to time to his first entry, John Gomel owned 400 acres of land at the time of his death. The land was principally timber and in its midst John Gomel built a small log house, then began clearing off the land. A few years before his death he retired, moving to Oakland, Coles County. His wife had died many years before on the farm, and he married (second) Harriet Balm, who died in Greencastle, Ind. after her husband. The children of John Gomel were as follows: Lewis of Missouri; Rama, of Oakland; Savilla, wife of Virgil Wheelock, of Kansas City; Aaron who died in Sargent Township; Orlando; and William, who died on the home farm in Sargent Township.
Orlando Gomel was educated in the common schools of his native township and remianed with his father until the fall of 1863, when he enlisted for three years in Company G, Seventy-ninth Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Captin Oliver O. Bagley and Col. Allen Buckler, of Danville, commanding. He participated in the engagement at Stone River, where he was wounded by a minie-ball in the left wrist and left arm, and was sent to the hospital at Nashville; then went successively to Louisville, Cincinnati, and Camp Dennison (Ohio), being discharged at the last named, in the fall of 1864. The wound he had received permantly crippled Mr. Gomel's left hand, and he returned home after his discharge. Having served his country and been wounded in its service, he then commenced working for himself on the farm he has since occupied.
Mr. Gomel now owns 165 acres of his father's old farm, but rents the greater part of it. He has never married and lives alone. Mr. Gomel built the present residence, which is back in the field half a mile from the road, and also the barn. In politics he is a Republican, but has never held office. He remembers well when the country was wild, and there were many deer, turkeys, geese, ducks, and wolves. Most of the land was unfenced during his early days. For many years Mr. Gomel could ride for miles in any direction and not see a fence. After his arrival here, John used to go to Georgetown, Terre Haute, Paris and Eugene to have a grist ground, being two or three days on the road and staying overnight at the roadhouses. One of the hardships of the trip was the green head flies, which were exceedingly troublesome. Mr. Gomel can related many interesting tales of the early days, which would make excellent reading did space permit their being inserted.