Dan Gardner may have sung this song as early as 1836, although his brother-in-law, Billy Whitlock (whom Sweeny taught to play banjo in 1837) claims to have written it in 1838 (Carlin, 124). The banjoist Ferguson, was singing it by 1840. Strangely, the first published version doesn’t appear until in 1842. Sweeny first introduced his version in January 1842, featuring the piece as his signature song during his New York run, and it remained in his repertoire throughout his trip to Britain. The song was widely popular with several versions being published in the year 1842 alone, and it was on the very first set list of the Virginia Minstrels in January 1843. Along with “Mary Blane” and “Lucy Neal”, it was one of the three most popular antebellum minstrel songs (Mahar, 283).