University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Gilbert “Gib” Morgan Papers, 1887-1909, 1944

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Morgan, Gib
Title: Gilbert “Gib” Morgan Papers
Dates: 1887-1909, 1944
Abstract: Gilbert “Gib” Morgan was an oil well driller who attained mythical status in American folklore.
Accession No.: 68-179
Extent: 1 in.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History,The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Gilbert “Gib” Morgan was an oil well driller who attained mythical status in American folklore. Stories about Morgan include how he built a vast hotel marvelously adapted to the southwestern climate, how he brought in a difficult well using a needle and thread for a cable and drill stem and how he had to shoot a bouncing tool dresser to keep him from starving to death.

The real Gib Morgan was born in 1842 and grew up in the frontier of Western Pennsylvania. He fought in the Union Army and with the end of the Civil War returned home to an oil boom in Pennsylvania. He married and had three children. After the death of his wife, Morgan became a roving driller, spreading tall tales about himself across the northern oil industry for two decades before retiring in the 1890s. Morgan died February 19, 1909.

Source: Boatright, Mody Coggin. 2000. Gib Morgan, minstrel of the oil fields. Denton, TX: University of North Texas Press.

Scope and Contents

The papers consist of photostats of documents and photographs. The documents relate to Morgan’s invalid Pension for his service in the Union Army from 1861 to 1864. The photographs include a portrait of Morgan and pictures of old oil well drilling equipment.


Access Restrictions

Unrestricted access.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Morgan, Gib, 1842-1909—Archives.
Folklore -- United States.
Military pensions--United States--Civil War, 1861-1865.
Petroleum industry and trade -- United States -- Folklore.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Gilbert “Gib” Morgan Papers, 1887-1909, 1944, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.

Detailed Description of the Papers



3H339 Pension files, 1887-1909
3S34 Photographs:
Early oil well drilling equipment
Portrait of Morgan