Born: Ap­ril 6, 1785, Litch­field, Con­nec­ti­cut.

Died: Au­gust 27, 1866, Med­ford, Mas­sa­chu­setts.

Buried: Mt. Au­burn Ce­me­te­ry, Cam­bridge, Mas­sa­chu­setts.



John was the son of James Pier­pont and Eli­za­beth Coll­ins; fa­ther of James Lord Pier­pont, cre­at­or of the fa­mous 1857 song Jin­gle Bells (al­so known as The One Horse Op­en Sleigh and Dash­ing Through the Snow); and grand­fa­ther of fi­nan­cier John Pier­pont Mor­gan.

John Pier­pont mar­ried twice: to Ma­ry Shel­don Lord (1810) and Har­ri­et Lou­ise Camp­bell Fow­ler (1857).

He gra­du­at­ed from Yale Col­lege (1804), worked as a tu­tor in New Ha­ven, Con­nec­ti­cut, and in Charles­town, South Ca­ro­li­na, then be­came a law­yer in 1812. Shortly af­ter, he left law and went in­to bu­si­ness, onl­y to leave it, too, and at­tend Har­vard Col­lege to stu­dy theo­lo­gy.

In 1819, he be­came pas­tor of the Hol­lis Street Church in Bos­ton, Mas­sa­chu­setts. His zeal against drink­ing and slav­e­ry made him re­sign in 1840.

In 1845, he be­came pas­tor of a Uni­ta­ri­an con­gre­ga­tion in Troy, New York. He served an­oth­er Uni­ta­ri­an church in Med­ford, Mas­sa­chu­setts (1849–59).

At age 70, he be­came a chap­lain in the Am­eri­can ar­my, and was lat­er ap­point­ed a clerk in the Trea­su­ry De­part­ment in Wash­ing­ton, DC.



Christmas Hymn

No moon hung o’er the sleep­ing earth,
But, on their thrones of light,
The stars, that sang ere morn­ing’s birth,
Filled up the vault of night
With heav’nly music; earth­ly ears
Not often catch that hymn;
It was the music of the spheres,
The song of se­ra­phim.

But there were those in Ju­dah’s land,
Who watched, that night, their fold,
Who heard the song of angel band,
As over them un­rolled
The starry glory; and there came
This burst of heav’n­ly song,
From shining trum­pets, lips of flame,
In chorus loud and long.

“To God be glory! For, this day,
Hath shot, from Judah’s stem,
A Branch, that ne’er shall know de­cay:
The royal dia­dem
Shall grace the brow of One, whom ye
Shall in a man­ger find;
For, Him hath God raised up to be
The Savior of man­kind.

To God be glory! Peace on earth!
Glory to God again!
For, with this infant Sav­ior’s birth,
There comes good will to men!

Good will to men! O God, we hail
This, of Thy law the sum;
For, as this shall o’er earth pre­vail,
So shall Thy king­dom come.

Based on John Pier­pont,
Airs of Pa­les­tine and Oth­er Po­ems, 1840