The Loray Mill in Gastonia was one of the largest textile mills in the country. In 1929, one of the most violent strikes ever erupted there, beginning a bitter struggle between textile factory owners and workers. Employees at the Loray Mill walked off the job when Fred Beal, who had been organizing a strike for more pay and a 40-hour week, was fired. Violence quickly broke out and in the ensuing weeks Police Chief W.O. Aderholt and strike leader Ella May Wiggins were killed. In the end, the union lost and the workers were blacklisted from working at local mills.