Lyricist best known for writing the song Freight Train. She was a self-taught left-handed guitarist and folk musician.
She worked as a maid when she was young.
She won a Grammy Award in the category of Best Ethnic or Traditional Recording for her album Elizabeth Cotten Live in 1984.
She had a daughter named Lillie with former husband Frank Cotten.
Her songs were recorded by artists such as Joan Baez.