Recalling how she once beat up a male neighbour almost 100 years earlier, Peterson declares, "I wasn't scared of him".
During her life, Peterson was largely called "Sis" or "Sissy" by the members of her family. When a US census worker asked Peterson's father for her name, he told the worker to stick to "C.O.Z.". The name has stuck since.
Peterson lives on her own with no full-time care, prepares her own meals, tidies her house on her own, and plants flowers in her backyard garden. Friends occasionally turn up to check on Peterson.
Peterson says, "It does no good to moan and groan and say I can't do this or that. I don't like lazy folks. … You've already failed if you think you can't try."
Born to a slave father and grandmother from Africa, Peterson lived on a plantation and remembers having to clean their sleeping area with pot ash and stuffing their mattresses with hay in order to sleep.
During her childhood, Peterson had a passion for history and geography and wanted to become a lawyer, commenting, "If I had had the money I would have been the best attorney". Peterson, however, was forced to leave school early. Working as a maid and custodian, Peterson names raising four children as one of her greatest accomplishments, though she herself was childless. She watched the civil rights movement several years ago and still has a picture of the in her dining room. 40 years later, when Barack Obama became President, Peterson remarked that she had seen how the world had finally changed. Peterson names the television as her favourite modern invention.
Peterson will attain supercentenarian status on 26 June 2012, at age 110 years, 0 days.