FaithWriters.com-Christian Devotionals - Peace Like A River:
This page is one of several which retells the story of Horatio Gates Spafford (1778-1832) who was a successful attorney in Chicago, where he was active in church, and blessed with a wife and four daughters. It tells of the tragic circumstances which befell his family and that led to the writing of the hymn, When peace like a river attendeth my way.
I'm just posting this link because we sang the hymn in our Church last Sunday evening, and perhaps not many in the congregation know the background. It is more well-known by the refrain, It is well, it is well with my soul.
The CyberHymnal has this hymn on-line.