James Pierpont (1822–93) was an American musician and composer. Born in Massachusetts, he joined his brother in Savannah, Georgia in the 1850s. There, he served as music director and organist for a Unitarian congregation. In 1857, Pierpont penned his most famous song: “Jingle Bells.” Originally titled “The One Horse Open Sleigh,” the song was written as an ode to his native New England and its holiday traditions. Initially the song was performed for a Thanksgiving service, but it was so well received that the performance was repeated for Christmas. Pierpont wrote several songs for the Confederacy following southern secession and joined the Fifth Georgia Calvary, where he served as a company clerk.
Although now associated with the Christmas season, this “merry little jingle,” written and composed by New England songwriter James Lord Pierpont (1822–93), was actually originally written for the Thanksgiving holiday.