On this day in 1893 the world lost James Pierpoint, composer of the most recognizable song of Christmas, Jingle Bells. The date of his death — August 5th — marks just 142 remaining days until Christmas.
While Jingle Bells, like its best selling cousin White Christmas, isn’t even a Christmas song its composer was no Irving Berlin.
Pierpoint was born the son of a minister but lived the life of a wanderer. He left his family in New England to strike it rich as part of the California gold rush but failed in his business endeavors. While he was gone his first wife died. He returned to the east, settling in Savannah, Georgia, remarried and became a church organist. It was during that time that Pierpoint wrote Jingle Bells, a song inspired of his boarding school days in New England and one intended to celebrate Thanksgiving.
Jingle Bells has no mention of Christmas in it. Honestly, it is a song about going fast and picking up girls. But the song was catchy, simple to sing and, from the get go, popular with all ages.