I've rarely found Mudcatter Richard "Richie" Matteson to be wrong. he claims the song dates back to about 1875, which would put it in the public domain. Here's what he says on his Bluegrassmessengers Website:
Hop Along Peter- Version 1
J. E. Mainer 1937
Hop Along Peter
Old-time song and fiddle tune; Attributed to Frank Dumont
ARTIST: J. E. Mainer's Mountaineers; Bluebird B-6752 as Mainer, Morris & Sherrill- 1937
CATEGORY: Fiddle and Instrumental Tunes
DATE: c. 1875 Frank Dumont; First recorded in 1937 by J. E. Mainer's Mountaineers, "Hop Along Peter" (Bluebird B-6752 [as Mainer, Morris & Sherrill]/Montgomery Ward M-7131. RECORDING INFO: J. E Mainer and his mountaineers 1936; Fisher Hendley Group, 1938 Happy Valley Boys 1940; Ebenezer. Tell It To Me, Biograph RC-6007, LP (1975), trk# 12; Fink, Cathy;, Duck Donald and Peter Paul Van Camp. I'm Gonna Tell, Likable 02, LP (1980), trk# 11 (Hopalong Peter); Highwoods String Band. Fire on the Mountain, Rounder 0023, LP (1973), trk# 4 (Hopalong Peter); Hills, Anne; and Cindy Mangsen. Never Grow Up, Flying Fish FF 671, CD (1998), trk# 11 (Hopalong Peter); Old Timey Songs for Children, New Lost City Ramblers, 1959; Folk Festival At Newport, Volume 2, Various Artists (New Lost City Ramblers), 1959; Fire on the Mountain, Highwoods String Band, 1973; Early Years, 1958-1962, New Lost City Ramblers, 1991; Not For Kids Only, Jerry Garcia and David Grisman, 1993; Run Mountain, J. E. Mainer, 1997 Fresh from the Market, Mitch & Eileen Rice, 2003 Fisher Hendley & his Aristocratic Pigs, "Hop Along Peter" (Vocalion 04780, 1939, on CrowTold01); J. E. Mainer's Mountaineers, "Hop Along Peter" (Bluebird B-6752 [as Mainer, Morris & Sherrill?]/Montgomery Ward M-7131, 1937); New Lost City Ramblers, "Hopalong Peter" (on NLCR10, NLCRCD1)
RELATED TO: Who Broke the Lock [on the Henhouse Door]
OTHER NAMES: Hopalong Peter; Get Along, John, the Day's Work's Done
SOURCES: Meade; Erbsen, Wayne. Erbsen, Wayne / Manual on How to Play the 5-String Banjo for the com...., Erbsen, sof (1974), p27; New Lost City Ramblers. Cohen, John, Mike Seeger & Hally Wood / Old Time String Band Songbook, Oak, Sof (1976/1964), p104 (Hopalong Peter) BrownIII 160, "Get Along, John, the Day's Work's Done" (1 text, of only three lines, but two of them correspond to this song); Cohen/Seeger/Wood, pp. 104-105, "Hopalong Peter" (1 text, 1 tune)
NOTES: Typical lyrics include: "Old mother Hubbard and her dog were Dutch/A bow-legged rooster and he hobbled on a crutch/Hen chawed tobacco and the duck drank wine/The goose played the fiddle on the pumpkin vine." Similar lyrics are found in the old-time song, "I'll Rise When the Rooster Crows."
According to Meade, Hopalong Peter was written by Frank Dumont before 1875. He sites numerous printings of it in the 1800’s. Currently Dumont's song has not been available on-line.
“Frank Dumont (1848-1919), tenor singer, author of many sketches, plays, and songs, and the last of the old-time minstrels, was born January 25, 1848, in Utica, New York. His career as a minstrel began early, for in the autumn of 1862 he was with Arlington and Donniker's Minstrels in New York City, and in 1866 was one of the partners in Cross, Fish and Dumont's Minstrels. The next year he joined Ned Davis' Minstrels. He was with Dashington and Kling's Minstrels early in 1869, but later in the same year joined Duprez and Benedict's Minstrels, and with them he remained nearly ten years. In 1877 he played at the Bowery Theatre, New York, in "In the Web." Later, he was with Carncross in Philadelphia. He was with Sweatman's Minstrels in 1879, with the San Francisco Minstrels, in New York, in 1880-81, and still later with Lew Dockstader. He removed to Philadelphia in 1881 and remained there until his death. In 1895 he became the proprietor of the Eleventh Street Opera House in Philadelphia, where, after January 27, 1896, Dumont's Minstrels gave negro minstrel performances exclusively. When the Opera House was sold in 1911, he became owner of the Dime Museum at Ninth and Arch Streets, in the same city. He altered it and changed its name to Dumont's Theatre. He personally acted as interlocutor with his company until his retirement from the stage, Christmas, 1918. His last skit was being played at his theater, March 17, 1919, when he died suddenly of heart failure in the box office. His wife, Nellie Winton, died May 28, 1939.”
Hop Along Peter was first recorded in 1937 by J. E. Mainer's Mountaineers, "Hop Along Peter" (Bluebird B-6752 as Mainer, Morris & Sherrill. The song is sometimes played as a fiddle solo but the tune is usually played on fiddle between verses in a string band format.
Here are the lyrics to Hop Along Peter from J.E. Mainer:
HOP ALONG PETER
Bluebird B-6752 as Mainer, Morris & Sherrill- 1937
Old Uncle Peter, he got tight,
Started up to heaven on a stormy night.
The road being rough and him not well,
He lost his way and he went... to...
CHORUS: Hop along, Peter, where you *going?
Hop along, Peter, where you going?
Hop along, Peter, won't you bear in mind
You ain't a-comin' back till the gooseberry time.
Old mother Hubbard and her dog were Dutch,
A bow-legged rooster and he hobbled on a crutch.
Old mother Hubbard was a-pickin' out fleas,
Rooster in the cream jar up to his knees.
Out in the wood yard playing seven-up,
Old mother Hubbard and a little yellow pup,
Hen chewed tobacco and the duck drank wine;
The goose played the fiddle on the pumpkin vine.
I've got a sweet gal in this here town,
If she weighs an ounce, she weighs seven hundred pounds,
Every time that sweet gal turns one around.
The heel of her shoe leaves a hole in the ground.