The version in the DT (click here) gives a SingOut! reference, which says:
"A small-scale mystery is building up around this song. Pete Seeger learned it at Christmastime, 1956, from Doris Plann, who said that her Quaker grandmother in North Carolina had taught it to her. The grandmother said that it was her favorite song and that it had been written during the early days of the Quaker church, 250 or more years ago. As is well known, the Quakers did not sing hymns in church since they did not believe in "decorating" the church services in any way.
"The editors [of SingOut!] have been unable to find a version of the song in any of the standard hymnologys. Ira D. Sankey's collection of "Gospel Hymns," published in 1894, contains a version whose second and third verses are more in keeping with 19th Century church traditions--but whether the Sankey version came firstt or second cannot be determined by the external evidence. the internal evidence leads us to suspect that the North Carolina version probably pre-dates Sankey's. ..."
There's a tune in the DT too--pretty song. And if you type the title into the blue box at the top of the page that says "Digitrad and Forum Search" you'll come up with a whole bunch of thread hits that may have more info.
Hope this helps!