John Hamilton was an early settler of Marissa. A story of historical interest concerning the pre-Civil War period was the story of his involvement in strained family relations. His brother in South Carolina had two sons who were officers in the Confederate Army. One of the sons, James, commanded a shore battery on Charleston harbor overlooking Fort Sumter. This fort was getting short of supplies so President Buchanan sent an unarmed supply ship called “The Star of the West” with a suitable cargo to Colonel Robert Anderson and his garrison at the fort. The supplies never reached Fort Sumter, for James Hamilton sent a well-directed shot across the vessel’s bow, whereupon she turned back. The incident occurred on Jan. 9, 1861 before war was declared. Relations between the north and the south were strained and the situation was getting worse. This shot was the first one fired denoting the hostile intent of the south. A short time after that incident, John Hamilton in Marissa received a letter from his brother telling him that his son fired the first shot. John Hamilton, a great abolitionist, had been writing to his brother, but when his brother wrote that his son fired that first shot, it made John so angry that he sat down and wrote a scalding letter to his brother and they never again corresponded after that. This is what split up the Hamilton family.