"I was born at Duck Hill, Mississippi. There was three of us children. All dead now but me. My parents was Molly Louden and Jake Porter. One master my parents talked about was Missis Molly and Dr. McCaskill. I don't think my mother was mixed with Indian. Her father was a white man, but my father said he was Indian and African. My father was in the Civil War.
"When the war was coming on they had the servants dig holes, then put rock on bottom, then planks, then put tin and iron vessels with money and silver, then put plank, then rocks and cover with dirt and plant grass on top. Water it to make it grow. They planted it late in the evening. I don't know what become of it.
"When I was eight or nine years old I went to a tent show with Sam and Hun, my brothers. We was under the tents looking at a little-Giraffe; a elephant come up behind me and touched me with its snout. I jumped back and run under it between its legs. That night they found me a mile from the tents asleep under some brush. They woke me up hunting me with pine knot torches. I had cried myself to sleep. The show was "Dan Rice and Coles Circus" at Dednen, Mississippi. They wasn't as much afraid of snakes as wild hogs, wolves and bears.
"My mother was cooking at the Ozan Hotel at Sardis, Mississippi. I was a nurse for a lady in town. I took the children to the square sometimes. The first hanging I ever seen was on Court Square. One big crowd collected. The men was not kin, they called it "Nathaniel and DeBonepart" hanging. They was colored folks hung. One killed his mother and the other his father. I never slept a wink for two or three nights, I dream and jump up crying. I finally wore it off. I was a girl and I don't know how old I was. Besides the square full of people, Mrs. Hunter's and Mrs. Boo's yards was full of people.
"We cooked for Capt. Salter at Sardis, Mississippi.
"The first school I went to was to Mrs. J. P. Settles. He taught the big scholars. She sent me to him and he whooped me for singing:
"Cleveland is elected
No more I expected."
I was a grown woman. They didn't want him elected I recken the reason they didn't want to hear it. Nobody liked em teaching but the last I heard of them he was a lawyer in Memphis. If folks learned to read a little that was all they cared about."
Interviewer Mrs. Bernice Bowden "