Unearthing the Truth about 'Jingle Bells'

[Kyna] Hamill unearthed a story that is stranger than fiction: it proposes that one of America’s most popular seasonal melodies was penned by a peripatetic, perennially broke ne’er-do-well. He was the son of a New England abolitionist but shunned his father and enlisted in the Confederate army, and his virtuous wintry verses were first performed in blackface in a minstrel show.
— Joel Brown