Yes Richard is quite right that there have been many others in your situation. It seems that many years ago a lot of West Virginians became aware that, due to the oil (mainly) and gas boom from about the 1860s through maybe the 1930s, Oil and Gas rights were worth something. However, as many people decided to give up farming and move on (many went west, to Ohio and points beyond), they sold their surface and retained the minerals. Then if the minerals were not leased, they may have not notified the counties where their minerals were, of their new address (in Ohio, California, or elsewhere). Or maybe the transfer of the surface was not recorded correctly in the county assessor's office, and the minerals were not recorded separately. Thus a lot of minerals were not recorded and thus not taxed. If not taxed, no taxes were owed. That answers one of your questions! Sometimes the original owner had one child who took care of him in his old age and paid the tax bill. The Old Man died, that helpful child kept paying the taxes, and that child's descendents kept paying and are paying now, maybe as Heirs of Grandpa. The other descendents got a free ride on taxes but when it comes leasing, all the heirs need to sign so the company tracks down the other people. In this case, the other people who should have been paying, are just lucky. Once everybody is found and signs leases, the county starts sending out taxes to the correct people. That could happen.
It is not necessarily easy to find the other owners but as Richard said, perhaps with some more information some of us can help. Any geneaology research you can do should be helpful to you also.
There is a lot to learn about all this as you are finding out. There is quite a lot of information on this forum, and a huge amount of it is in the Doddridge group. Read as much as you can. Richard is quite correct about getting as much info as you can from the abstractor. A big part of that information is the name of your ancestor who once owned the land, and any other information such as original acreage and a watershed (such and such River, so and so Creek, etc) which is the usual designation of location in West Virginia.
Keep asking questions here as you have them.
If you want to keep some info private (understandable) you can Friend some of us and maybe we can help off the public portion of the site. However we are all hoping that people can share general info, and when they learn how to do something, will share that also. I have had to find out quite a lot of things, for different tracts that I inherited, so have accumulated a lot of ways of finding out things.
Many of us, me included, live out of state and there are various ways to get at least some things done long distance. Richard is also right that you might need to get professional help either to find out things in Harrison, and/or when negotiating a lease, when the time comes. There is a lot to learn about leasing on this forum also.
From another Nancy