Spafford, Horatio Gates


b North Troy, NY, USA 1828, d Jerusalem 1888. After growing up in New York he moved to Chicago where he established a successful law practice. He belonged to the Presbyterian Ch, supported the early missions of Moody and Sankey, and was director and trustee for the Presbyterian Theological Seminary of the Northwest (later renamed the McCormick Theol Seminary). He and his wife had already lost a son when ‘the Great Chicago Fire’ of 1871 which killed 300 people also destroyed most of his property; ironically, the almost-forgotten fire at Peshtigo, Washington, killed five times as many that same day. The tragic personal losses at sea which led to the writing of his most notable hymn have been described in many books, as they are in the notes to vol 1. His interest in Palestine, and expectation of Christ’s imminent return, led the Spaffords to settle there in 1881, and he spent his remaining 7 years or so in and around Jerusalem. There he also founded an American community; its story was told by the surviving daughter Bertha Spafford Vesta in her book Our Jerusalem. Like several other worthies he was buried in the Protestant cemetery near Mount Zion. No.804.

Hymns and songs by Spafford, Horatio Gates

Number Hymn Name
804 When peace, like a river, attends all my way