Sunday, December 4, 2011 4:52:14 PM
that song came out in 1933 by leadbelly
There are references to it from the 1920s, and those references state that it was an old song then (singer taught it by a grandparent, that sort of thing). Of course, nobody was recording anything back then. It's even claimed that it predates the USA entirely and has its origins in England centuries ago. Nobody knows.