Written in 1847 by Stephen Foster. Introduced by himself and his brother Morrison as part of the vocal group who performed in Andrew's Eagle Ice Cream Saloon in Pittsburgh. Other pioneer performers in the Pittsburg area: blackfaced act The Sabre Brothers and music hall singer Nelson Kurass. Sold for $100 to a New York music store and popularized by the Christy Minstrels. Soon a big success among the famous '49ers' in the California goldrush towns, spreading the tune along the west coast.
Wendell Hall & Shannon Four [vaudeville star on ukelele]
Shirley Temple [in film Our Little Girl]
Al Jolson [in film Swanee River, narrating Stephen Foster's life story]
Big 3 [parody as The Banjo Song (see there)]
Randy Newman [lyric lines in Rider In The Rain; see also: My Old Kentucky Home]
There's a Stephen Foster Memorial Day in America, unique for a songwriter.