I found this bit of information at Voyagerrecords.com and verified in a book Old-time Music Makers of New York State: A German dwarf named Hoffmaster composed this tune in 1785 for popular stage performer John Durang (1768 - 1821), who was sometimes called "the first American dancer."
Also of interest, Hoffmaster (who was under 4’ tall) wrote another tune for Durang to dance to, entitled "The Wapping Landlady", now known as "The Sailors Hornpipe".
It is unlikely Hoffmaster wrote the Sailors’ Hornpipe (a.k.a. College Hornpipe) for Durang as, a year before Durang was born, according to tunearch.org: "….the comic ballet The Wapping Landlady (1767) was the source of the Sailor Hornpipe that was famously danced by the American dancer Durang for some twenty years at the end of the 18th century. The ballet featured the trials of Jack Tar ashore, and was choreographed by Arnold Fisher (of “Fisher’s Hornpipe” fame)."
Billy Clifford plays this tune as a reel on his album Irish traditional Flute Solos. The 4th bar is played up the octave as it’s too low for a flute player.
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