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.
Son of Gazetteer author Horatio Gates Spafford and Elizabeth Clark Hewitt Spafford, on September 5, 1861, in Chicago, Spafford married Anna Larsen, of Stavanger, Norway. The Spaffords were well known in 1860s Chicago. He was a prominent lawyer, a senior partner in a large and thriving law firm. He and his wife were also prominent supporters and close friends of evangelist Dwight L. Moody. A series of family tragedies began in 1870 when their only son died from scarlet fever at the age of four.
Spafford invested in real estate north of an expanding Chicago in the spring of 1871. When the Great Fire of Chicago reduced the city to ashes in October of 1871, the same year that Spafford invested in Chicago real estate, it also destroyed most of Spafford's sizable investment.
Two years later, in 1873, Spafford decided his family should take a holiday somewhere in Europe, and chose England knowing that his friend D. L.