James Lord Pierpont, the composer of the well know classic Christmas song “Jingle Bells” at one time called Valdosta his home.
James Pierpont was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1822. His father, John Pierpont, was a minister. His mother was Mary Lord Pierpont. James did not wish to be a minister like his father and wanted to travel. He spent time as a sailor and as a prospector for gold in California. In the 1850s he moved to Georgia, living in Savannah, Valdosta, and Quitman.
It is not known where Pierpont wrote Jingle Bells. Some think he wrote it while still living in Massachusetts; however the song was copyrighted in 1857, while Pierpont was living in Savannah. After the Civil War Pierpont and his wife Eliza moved to Valdosta, where he was a church organist and taught music. He and his family are listed in the Lowndes County census of 1870 and his son Maynard was born here. They later moved to Quitman, Georgia. In 1886 Pierpont moved to Winter Haven, Florida where Eliza died in 1889, and James in 1893. They are both buried on the Purse-Pierpont plot in Savannah’s Laurel Grove Cemetery.