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Where is Elizabeth Cotten's grave?

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FREIGHT TRAIN
OH, BABE IT AIN'T NO LIE
SHAKE SUGAREE


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GUEST,Ruark 23 Apr 14 - 12:23 AM
GUEST,Ed 23 Apr 14 - 12:33 AM
GUEST 23 Apr 14 - 12:51 AM
GUEST,Ed 23 Apr 14 - 12:56 AM
Big Al Whittle 23 Apr 14 - 01:00 AM
GUEST 23 Apr 14 - 03:23 AM
DonMeixner 23 Apr 14 - 07:30 AM
GUEST,# 23 Apr 14 - 09:59 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Apr 14 - 03:31 AM
GUEST,Hilary 25 Apr 14 - 08:57 PM
GUEST,Dani 26 Apr 14 - 01:22 PM
GUEST,John Bari 06 Jun 20 - 06:21 PM
GUEST,John Bari 06 Jun 20 - 06:36 PM
GUEST,John Bari 06 Jun 20 - 07:17 PM
cnd 07 Jun 20 - 09:57 PM
PHJim 28 Jan 21 - 08:48 PM
cnd 28 Jan 21 - 09:25 PM
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Subject: Where is Elizabeth Cotten's grave?
From: GUEST,Ruark
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 12:23 AM

I have searched the Internet and can find absolutely nothing about where the great Elizabeth Cotten is buried. Can anybody help?


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Subject: RE: Where is Elizabeth Cotten's grave?
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 12:33 AM

You've not searched very hard, have you?

There's no grave because she wasn't buried. She was cremated.

See findagrave.com


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Subject: RE: Where is Elizabeth Cotten's grave?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 12:51 AM

Thanks for your polite answer.


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Subject: RE: Where is Elizabeth Cotten's grave?
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 12:56 AM

You are welcome.


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Subject: RE: Where is Elizabeth Cotten's grave?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 01:00 AM

nowadays the fashion is for us all to be buried on youtube.


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Subject: RE: Where is Elizabeth Cotten's grave?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 03:23 AM

I'll bury YOU on Youtube.


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Subject: RE: Where is Elizabeth Cotten's grave?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 07:30 AM

My understanding is the bulk of Ms Cottons family is still in Syracuse, NY. There is a small monument park dedicated to her memory here as well as a Street dedication. In city hall is a large portrait of her that is quite good. She was well loved by the local arts community and had many friends here.

Don


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Subject: RE: Where is Elizabeth Cotten's grave?
From: GUEST,#
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 09:59 AM

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6666716

Hope that helps, Ruark.


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Subject: RE: Where is Elizabeth Cotten's grave?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 03:31 AM

An account of Elizabeth's Cotten's introduction into the Seeger household, from 'Ruth Crawford Seeger – a composer's search for American music', Judith Tick, 1997
Jim Carroll

"By the mid-1940s, Crawford hired housekeepers more or less full-time. The patterns shifted according to book deadlines: some years she did without; other years, she had help in seven days a week. Like so many middle-class women in Washington, she relied on the cheap and desperate labor pool o: African American women. They came and went, some acknowledged in Crawford's books, others remembered fondly by the children. But one in par¬ticular was thrust into prominence within the folk revival world initially be¬cause of her association with the family. Elizabeth or "Libba" Cotten (so nick¬named by Penny) often told of her serendipitous encounter with "a fine looking lady" in 1948. Working in a department store where black customers could not go beyond the first floor, she returned a lost Peggy Seeger to her mother and in turn received an invitation to work in the Seeger home. Cotten was a gifted instrumentalist. Her story—success through the universal ap¬peal of her song, "Freight Train"; the widespread imitation of the "Cotten" left-handed style of guitar playing; her prominence as a folk artist—all that happened after Crawford's death. But the musical sympathies between them were captured on a family-made tape, ca. 1950. An eager documentor tries to persuade her tired maid to talk about her folkways. They sit on the floor and pat rhythms. "Get the banjo out more, remember some of those things again," Ruth says plaintively. "Oh, Libba, sing me—just before you go—the one you were doing out in the kitchen . . . and I said, now we have to get it." Libba sings "Snake Bake a Hoecake" and "Old Cow Died," both used in Animal Folk Songs for Children. Ruth is in her element, doing field work in her own house."


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Subject: RE: Where is Elizabeth Cotten's grave?
From: GUEST,Hilary
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 08:57 PM

It's "way down on old Chestnut Street" of course! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Where is Elizabeth Cotten's grave?
From: GUEST,Dani
Date: 26 Apr 14 - 01:22 PM

http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/09/22/3212737/shaffer-cottens-freight-train.html


Also a beloved daughter of Carrboro, NC, near me. We had the great good fortune of having her granddaughter join some other fine musicians at the inaugural music night of our former restaurant in a nearby town, and of course, we sang "Freight Train" : )

Dani


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Subject: RE: Where is Elizabeth Cotten's grave?
From: GUEST,John Bari
Date: 06 Jun 20 - 06:21 PM

Of course, it's possible that cremation remains could be buried somewhere, particularly without an official record. But Cotten's death and family were located well over 500 miles from where she grew up, in what is now Carrboro, North Carolina. If anyone's still interested in tracking down Chestnut Street, there's an interesting discussion of that on "What Street Was That? - http://whatstreet.blogspot.com/


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Subject: RE: Where is Elizabeth Cotten's grave?
From: GUEST,John Bari
Date: 06 Jun 20 - 06:36 PM

I know I'm obsessing today, but wouldn't it be cool if someone in her family made it back to Carrboro to distribute those ashes as per Libba's express wishes. It's not known where Libba Cotten lived on Lloyd Street, but it isn't a very long street. On Google Maps satellite view you can see that Lloyd runs parallel to a set of railroad tracks a half a block away. Around the end of Lloyd, the tracks are crossed by the "Libba Cotten Bikeway", so I'm assuming the tracks are old and disused. Seeing as how the song was written about 115 years ago, it's quite likely that both the topography of improvements and the names or very existence of some streets could have changed significantly by now. All in all, I guess it can't be known, but it's nice to dream.


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Subject: RE: Where is Elizabeth Cotten's grave?
From: GUEST,John Bari
Date: 06 Jun 20 - 07:17 PM

Holy crap! I found it. It's Shelton Street, not Chestnut. She's singing Shelton in that video posted at "What Street Was That?". Shelton Street runs perpendicular to the tracks and undoubtedly crossed through to Lloyd Street before they built the commercial property along the tracks. Of course, she's not "buried" there, but now I know the correct lyric.


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Subject: RE: Where is Elizabeth Cotten's grave?
From: cnd
Date: 07 Jun 20 - 09:57 PM

John Bari, I had the same thought as you -- there is a cemetery near where I grew up which was designed for all people interred to be cremated. NCPedia says she was buried in Syracuse, NY, while FindAGrave says she was born in DeWitt Cemetery, DeWitt, Onondaga County, New York.

Glad to hear you figured out your mystery street, too!


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Subject: RE: Where is Elizabeth Cotten's grave?
From: PHJim
Date: 28 Jan 21 - 08:48 PM

My mother, father and brother were all cremated, but that did not prevent them being buried.
I have looked through most of the results of Googling where Libba was buried. While many of the sites said that she had been cremated, none said where she had been buried or whether her ashes were scattered or saved or. . .

GUEST,Ed told us that she had not been buried, but didn't say what had been done with her ashes. GUEST,Ruark didn't ask if she had been embalmed or cremated. He(she?) wanted to know where she had been buried.


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Subject: RE: Where is Elizabeth Cotten's grave?
From: cnd
Date: 28 Jan 21 - 09:25 PM

Here's a quote from famed folksinger Alice Gerrard:

"Every time I go up I-95, I cross over the South Anna River. I've always loved that name. And I put it together with something Libba Cotten told me years ago. She didn't want to be buried in the ground. She had an image of herself that she'd be laid on a river. She would float down river and all her friends would be standing on the bank waving at her as she went by." (News and Observer, May 10th, 2013, p. D3

I can't find anything to suggest she actually had the latter half of her wish carried out, but it seems to lend a lot of credence to the earlier claims that she was not, after all, buried.


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