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