A Blupete Biography Page

Samuel Cunard's Forefathers , Part 2 to the Life & Works of
Samuel Cunard

Cunard's ancestors were Quakers3 that came to America in 1683. They settled at a place along the Delaware River near present day Philadelphia. The family was headed by Thomas Cunard (Thones Kunders). Thomas found the means with his sons to buy "a ship," and together, they went into the shipping business. Through the years they made a success of it. Then, in 1775, the American Revolution unfolded. Certain of the Cunards, like many Americans, were not on the side of the revolutionaries. With the signing of the The Paris Peace Treaty (1783) by which the hostilities between Great Britain and her colonies were brought to an end, those loyal to the British crown, most all of whom were successful in commerce or had a position in government, knew that all was lost and they had to leave. That same year the Cunard family sailed from New York to the eastern British colonies. They came together with a great number of "Loyalists" in a fleet consisting of twenty ships.4

(An interesting story might now be told: Part of this group that shipped out from New York was the family of Thomas Murphy, a ship builder of Charleston, South Carolina. Indeed, Murphy had built ships for the Cunard family in the pre-revolutionary days. Well, Murphy had an unattached daughter, Margaret, aged 21, "a tall, spirited girl with dark eyes." Abraham Cunard, an unattached male of 27, also was on one of the ships of the fleet that brought the Loyalists to Saint John, New Brunswick in 1783. The two eventually married.)

While a certain branch of the Cunard family that fled the United States settled on land near Saint John, Abraham Cunard (1756-1824) set out for Halifax where he took up work as a carpenter. Having earned a reputation as a good carpenter, Abraham was eventually hired to work at the government lumberyard, a place which rendered great service to naval ships in supplying masts, spars and squared timber.

Kay Grant gave this description of Abraham Cunard:

"A sober, thrifty, respected by everyone, he stuck to his job at the lumberyard and in time rose to a position of some importance. With a staff of assistants, he handled all the requisitions for trimmed lumber. Specifications for any government building project, including ships, had to be submitted to his department."
Abraham and Margaret (1758-1821) had nine children, two girls and seven boys. The first child was Mary, born in 1784 (d.1811). Samuel came along next, in 1787.

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Peter Landry
2013

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