The banking interests of a community are necessarily among the most important, for financial stability must be the foundation stone upon which all great enterprises are erected. The men who control and conserve the money of corporation or country must possess many qualities not requisite in the ordinary citizen, and among these, high commercial integrity, exceptional financial ability, poise, judgment and foresight may be mentioned. Public confidence must be with them, and this fact has again and again been demonstrated in the United States, when panics that even threatened the stability of the Government has been averted by the wisdom, sagacity and foresight of the men whose whole training has been along the line of finance. A citizen who has been prominently connected with the banking interests of Johnston City for many years, and who has done much in the effective up-building of this place along additional lines, is Marshall Ozment, cashier of the First National Bank of Johnston City. Mr. Ozment was born near Carrier Mills, Saline county, Illinois, October 2, 1868, and is a son of Richard D. and Sarah (Miller) Ozment.
The grandfather of Marshall Ozment, Richard D. Ozment, Sr., was born in North Carolina, of German antecedents, and was raised in Tennessee. In 1852 he came to Saline county, Illinois, where he died on a farm at the age of sixty-five years, his life having been spent in agricultural pursuits. He married a Miss Eddings, who died in Tennessee, and they became the parents of the following children: Christopher C., of Harrisburg, Illinois; John, who went with the South upon the issues of the Civil war and died somewhere in Georgia; James, who joined the Union army and was killed at the battle of Fort Donelson; Peter, also a soldier in the Federal army, died in St. Louis some years subsequent to the war; Richard D., father of Marshall Ozment; White, whose death occurred near Harrisburg; Lucy, who married James Miller and died in Williamson county in 1909; Martha, who became Mrs. John Hawks, and died near Carrier Mills; and Elizabeth, who married Presley Spinks and passed her life in Saline county.
Richard D. Ozment was born in Wilson county, Tennessee, in 1841, and was eleven years of age when brought to Saline county by his parents. He married Sarah Miller, a daughter of Stephen Miller, who represented one of the old families of Saline county, and she died June 27, 1907, her children being: Mary, who married H. H. Lewis, of Carrier Mills; Marshall, who lives in Johnston City; Sina, the wife of L. M. Clarida, residing at Rector, Arkansas; Charles and Christopher C., of Stonefort, Illinois, where both are engaged in banking; Ella, now Mrs. W. A. Phillips, of Saline county; and Richard D., Jr., who has spent the past four years in the clerical department of the Fort Dearborn National Bank of Chicago.
Marshall Ozment came to mature life in the open air of the country, and after completing his course in the district school was a pupil of the Crab Orchard Academy and of the Gem City Business College at Quincy, Illinois. He gained a professional experience as a public school teacher for six years, beginning at the age of eighteen years and resuming his place again with the old home when this work was done. Mr. Ozment remained on the homestead until he was twenty-six years of age, at which time he joined Mr. J. S. Lewis in a banking enterprise in Carrier Mills, but this enterprise was subsequently moved to Stonefort, and its original owners sold their interest, the bank now being conducted by brothers
of Mr. Ozment, Christopher C. and Charles Ozment. On coming to Johnston City Mr. Ozment and his partner formed the Bank of Johnston City and conducted it as a partnership until in October, 1904, when it was chartered as the First National Bank and capitalized at twenty-five thousand dollars. Two years later its capital stock was doubled and the institution showed by statement of December 5. 1911: Loans and discounts, $142,640.48; overdrafts, secured and unsecured $408.45; U. S. Bonds to secure circulation, $50,000; premiums on U. S. bonds, $2,000; bonds and securities, $4,912.90; banking house, furniture and fixtures, $17,500; due from approved reserve agent, $18,-589.59; checks and other cash items, $283.08; notes of other National banks, $1,000; lawful money reserve in bank, $21,538.38; redemption fund with U. S. treasury, $2,500; due from U. S. treasury, $2.50. Total resources, $261,372.88. The liabilities show capital stock paid in $50,000; surp[l]us fund, $6,600; undivided profits, less expenses and taxes paid, $324.23; National bank notes outstanding, $49,997.50; individual deposits subject to check, $63,632.25; time certificates of deposit, $89,958.64, and cashier checks outstanding, $860.26.
Mr. Ozment has devoted himself to the task of building up a solid and conservative depository for the public's money and has given ten years of his life to the work without an intermission or a vacation. His old associate left the institution in 1909, and Mr. Richard G. Fleming took his place as president of the bank; the vice-president is Mr. J. M. Copher, of Johnston City. Other business matters have claimed Mr. Ozment's attention, largely of a personal nature. He has built up a large fire insurance business here, has been treasurer of the city, and has contributed to the substantial business houses as a builder of the town. He is a Democrat, as is also his father, and his interest in the work of temperance is marked and uncompromising, his antagonism to the open saloon being well known and his position upon all moral questions being in line with orthodoxy. In 1892 he joined the Masons, and, save when out of reach of the lodge, he has not missed a meeting thereof, has been nine times master of his organization, and for some years represented it in the Grand Lodge of the state. He is also a member of Oriental Consistory of Medinah Temple, Chicago, and of Patton Commandery, Mount Vernon, and is now district deputy grand master of the Forty-eighth district of Illinois. With his wife he is a member of the Missionary Baptist church, and is active in the Sabbath-school, of which he has been superintendent for the past three years.
On March 3, 1897, Mr. Ozment was united in marriage at Stonefort, Illinois, with Miss Maud Joyner, a daughter of Marion and Tiny (Webber) Joyner, of Saline county, and two children, Arel and George, have been born to this union.