Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 283] deceased, who was one of New Castle's highly honored citizens, enjoying the full and unlimited confidence and respect of his fellow-citizens, belonged to that selected company of American citizens who can claim the title of self-made, having arisen from an humble station in life to his eminent position in the world of commercial activity purely by his own exertions. His death, which occurred on the thirtieth of December, 1896, was a serious loss not only to his family, but also to all of New Castle's citizens, and especially to the rising generation, to whom he offered the example of a life nobly spent, worthy of the highest admiration. He was born in Belmont Co., Ohio, in 1830, and was a son of Joseph and Jane (Smith) Taggart.

Joseph Taggart was of Scotch-Irish descent. With his three brothers, James, William, and Isaac, all of them older than he, he came to this country. They were not entirely without means, for their father, and their ancestors far removed, had been well-to-do farmers, of the north of Ireland; with their capital the four brothers bought four hundred acres of land near St. Clairsville, Ohio, and proceeded to clear the land of the timber, build homes, and apportion the property amongst them. The same land is owned to-day by their several descendants. Joseph Taggart died at about fifty-five years of age; his wife was not over forty years old when she was called to her long home to receive the reward of a virtuous life, replete with good deeds. Their children were: Sarah; Dorothy; Margaret; and John Smith, the subject of this biographical sketch.

John S. Taggart came to New Castle in 1853 as clerk for Pollard McCormick, and was for many years his chief clerk, trusted and honored with the supervision of many important details of the business. For many years he was with Paul Graff & Co., wholesale shoe dealers. He then entered into the oil business in Tennessee, and later in Venango Co., Pa.; he was also in the retail shoe business with his son, Samuel J., under the firm name of J. S. Taggart & Son. In 1878, our subject sold his interest in the shoe business, and went to Beaver County, where he was engaged in the oil busines until 1881, when he opened up an office in New Castle to deal in real estate, and represent some of the best and most reliable insurance companies. His health had gradually failed for some years, and when rheumatism set in, his enfeebled constitution could not stand the strain, and he reluctantly prepared to leave the busy world and his loved wife and children, and obey the final summons. The end came suddenly, acute rheumatism seizing the heart, and paralyzing its action, thus preventing it from performing its necessary functions, and causing death. He had just completed a modern house, fitted up in the most attractive manner, on Grant Avenue, where he leaves a widow and children to mourn the great loss that has come to them. His death occurred on the forty-fifth anniversary of his wedding with Nancy J. Hamilton, daughter of Samuel and Arabella (Scroggs) Hamilton, and granddaughter of Thomas and Nancy (Mitchell) Hamilton. Mrs. Taggart's grandfather, Thomas Hamilton, was born in Belfast Ireland, his wife's birthplace also being in Ireland. Upon his arrival in the great Republic, he took up his residence near Brush Run, Beaver Co., Pa., where be farmed the remainder of his life, dying at an age exceeding seventy years. His wife lived to be over ninety years old. The following children were born to them: John; Thomas; Milo; Mitchell; George; Samuel; Elmira; and Jane. Samuel Hamilton was born on the homestead in Beaver Co., Pa., and early in life was a harness and saddle-maker. He was a spirited, active man in politics, and being blessed with a good education, he devoted much of his later life in the service of the town, serving as justice of the peace, as representative to the State Legislature, and as county commissioner. He died at the age of sixty-eight; his wife filled out twenty more years, and was eighty-eight years old when she fell into that last sleep. Their children were: Isabelle; Thomas J.; Samuel; Alexander; Nancy J., the wife of our subject; Margaret; Mary; Louise; and James. Three children are still living, Nancy J., Mary, and Louise.

To our subject and his esteemed wife were born the following children: Samuel J., who died at the age of thirty-seven; Arabella Jane, the wife of A. C. Jones; Dorothy Elizabeth, the wife of T. F. Morehead; John C., an accountant in the office of the Whiterow Co.; and Charles P. secretary of the Rock Point Coal Co., and bookkeeper of the Rosena Furnace. Mr. Taggart was a decided Republican, and served as city councilman, and as a member of the school board, holding a place in the latter organization for twenty-five years, sixteen years of which period being spent as secretary of the board. He was a leader in the United Presbyterian Church, and often acted as trustee.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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