The Loray Strike
These Links provide scholarly information about the Loray Mill, the strike, and Ella May’s ballads.
Our State Magazine
Old Hat Records Gastonia Textile Strike of 1929
Old Hat Records Ella May Wiggins and the Mill Mothers Song
NCpedia Gastonia Strike
Who Was Ella May Wiggins
Ella May was born in the heart of the rural Smokey Mountains in Sevierville, Tennessee on September 17, 1900. Her parents, James and Katherine May were subsistent farmers. Everyone in the family had to work on the farm in order for the family to survive. The family harvested corn, yams, cabbage, beans, and apples. Ella’s father would sometimes go hunting and catch rabbits and opossums. Despite the hard work and the meager existence there was pride found in mountain folk such as the May clan. Those living in isolation in the mountains, descendants of such pioneers as Davy Crockett, had an independent resilient spirit.