Sir Samuel Cunard, 1st Baronet (21 November 1787 – 28 April 1865) was a British shipping magnate, born at Halifax, Nova Scotia, who founded the Cunard Line. He was the son of a master carpenter and timber merchant who had fled the American Revolution and settled in Halifax.

Samuel Cunard was the son of Abraham Cunard and Margaret Murphy, Loyalists who came to Halifax in 1783. Abraham Cunard was a master carpenter who worked for the British garrison in Halifax and became a wealthy landowner and timber merchant. Cunard's business skills were evident at an early age and by age 17 he was managing his own general store. He later joined his father in the family timber business, which he expanded into coal, iron, shipping and whaling.

During the War of 1812, Cunard volunteered for service in the 2nd Battalion of the Halifax Regiment of militia and rose to the rank of captain. He held many public offices such as lighthouse commissioner and maintained a reputation as not only a shrewd businessman but also an honest and generous citizen.

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