“Chief Aderholt”

Author: Ella May Wiggins
Earliest date: 1953 (Greenway), but Wiggins was shot to death in 1929
Keywords: homicide police labor-movement
Found in: US


"Come all of you good people And listen while I tell The story of Chief Aderholt, The man you all know well." Aderholt is shot in Union Ground. The police imprison and prepare to try labor leaders; the singer calls on hearers to join the union


For a biography of Ella May Wiggins, who was killed in 1929 at the age of 29 (very possibly at the instigation of Loray mine owner Manville Jenckes), see Greenway-AFP, pp. 244-247.

It's interesting to ask whether there has been any folk processing between the Burt and Greenway versions. The tunes differ by only a single note, and the lyrics by only a single word; either might have been a printing error. But they are ever so slightly different. - RBW


  1. Burt, pp. 186-187, (no title) (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Greenway-AFP, p. 248, "Chief Aderholt" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. BI, Burt186