Kemp Morgan or Gib Morgan is a character from American folklore, particularly appearing in tall tales.

Kemp Morgan stories are said to have appeared in the oil fields of Texas and Oklahoma, where he was a folk hero similar to Paul Bunyan or John Henry.[1][2] Morgan was said to be a rotary oil driller with an amazing power of olfaction, allowing him to smell oil underground,[3] and the strength to hand-build a drilling platform covering four acres at the base, and so tall "it had to be hinged in two places to let the moon go by".[4]

Morgan is possibly a creation of fakelore, rather than a genuine folk hero.[3] In 1945, Texas folklorist Mody Coggin Boatright published a full-length analysis, Gib Morgan: Minstrel of the Oil Fields, which linked the collected tales with a consistent pattern of biographical and historical details, and then to "a man of flesh and blood": Gilbert Morgan (1842-1909), born in Callensburg, Pennsylvania, veteran of the American Civil War, and at work in the old fields for more than 20 years.[5]


  1. ^ Folk-say: A Regional Miscellany, 1929–32, ed. Benjamin Albert Botkin, University of Oklahoma Press, 1930, Volume 2 pp. 382, 385
  2. ^ Man, Bird, and Beast, Stith Thompson and James Frank Dobie, Texas Folklore Society 1926, Issues 5-7, p. 46
  3. ^ a b Brunvand, Jan Harold (1998). American folklore: an encyclopedia. Taylor & Francis. p. 1105. ISBN 978-0-8153-3350-0.
  4. ^ Barr, Richard M. (16 October 1957). "A Rival For Paul Bunyan?". Tampa Bay Times, St. Petersburg, Florida. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  5. ^ Pelagri, Clarence (29 May 1976). "Gib Morgan: A Legend in American Folklore". Oil City Derrick, Oil City, Pennsylvania. Retrieved 19 November 2021.