The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 365-366
Raleigh

WILLIAM N. MACTAGGART. Though he has been an American all these years he can remember, William N. MacTaggart was born in Scotland, and he has some of the pronounced Scotch characteristics. He is conservative, is a man of forceful character, and his associates esteem his judgment and experience as the last resort in practically every matter connected with coal operation and mining engineering. Mr. MacTaggart is the local superintendent and engineer in charge of the vast properties of the Beaver Coal Company, with headquarters at Beckley in Raleigh County.

He was born in the City of Glasgow, January 29, 1868, son of John and Mary (Neilson) MacTaggart. His parents came to the United States about 1870. His father while in Scotland was an accountant for coal mining companies, but, in the United States he took up mining as a practical vocation, and was a mine foreman and superintendent, spending one year at Sharon, Pennsylvania, and then removed to the coal district around Jeansville, Pennsylvania.  He was killed in a mine accident there in 1881.

William N. MacTaggart attended the common schools of Jeansville, and was only eight years of age when he did
his first work at a coal mine, picking slate. This was night work, and he continued to attend school during the day.  At the age of eleven he was made trapper and driver, and then successively was employed as trackman, dug coal as a practical miner, served as foreman and superintendent, and with increasing experience in all phases of coal mining he felt the need of a better education, and for two years he pursued an academic course in Grove City College in Western Pennsylvania.  Following that he secured a position as rodman with an engineering company, and after mastering the fundamentals of engineering he was made chainman and then transit man. For three years he was in the service of the Lehigh Valley Coal Company as a mining engineer at Hazelton, Pennsylvania. In 1899 he came to West Virginia as mining engineer for the Fairmont Coal Company, and was in the service of this corporation four years.

During a period of almost twenty years since then, Mr. MacTaggart has had his headquarters at Beckley, where he has been superintendent for the Beaver Coal Company. He looks after the property of the company, comprising 50,000 acres of coal and timber lands, producing on the average 3,000,000 tons of coal annually, besides lumber. There are twenty coal companies operating under lease from the Beaver Company.  These operating companies are the Raleigh, the Beckley, the Slab Fork, the Sullivan, the E. E. White Coal and Coke Company, the Gulf Smokeless Coal Company, the Bailey-Wood Coal Company, the Pemberton, the McAlpin, the Gulf Coal Company, the Elkhorn Piney Mining Company, Pemberton Fuel Company, Piney Creek Coal Company, Douglas Coal Company, Bowyer Smokeless Coal Company, Ragland Coal Company, Summit
Coal Company, Viacova Coal Company, Beard Coal and Coke Company and Battleship Coal Company.

In 1896, at Jeansville, Pennsylvania. Mr. MacTaggart married Bertha Hamer, daughter of William and Bertha
Hamer. Her father was in the coal business in Pennsylvania. The five children of their marriage are Paul, Jean
(deceased), Isabel, Margaret and Bertha.

The Beaver Company donated the site at Beckley for the new hospital known as the Kings Daughters Hos-
pital of Beckley. Mr. MacTaggart is a Presbyterian, is a member of the Kiwanis Club and is president of the Beckley Club.

Submitted by Valerie Crook <vfcrook@earthlink.net>

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