Horatio Gates Spafford (October 20, 1828, Troy, New York - October 16, 1888, Jerusalem) was a prominent American lawyer, best known for penning the Christian hymn It Is Well With My Soul, following a family tragedy in which four of his daughters died. "It Is Well with My Soul" is a very influential hymn penned by hymnist Horatio Spafford and composed by Philip Bliss.
This hymn was written after several traumatic events in Spafford’s life. The first was the death of his only son in 1871 at the age of four, shortly followed by the great Chicago Fire which ruined him financially (he had been a successful lawyer). Then in 1873, he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the SS Ville du Havre, but sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business concerning zoning problems following the Great Chicago Fire. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a sailing ship, the Loch Earn, and all four of Spafford's daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, "Saved alone." Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his.