Captain William Henry Bulger

b. 19 Jun 1845
m. 25 Aug. 1874 (Elva A. Spurling)
m. ??? (Bernadine J. Tennyson)
d. 27 May 1927


William Bulger was a sea captain who, until he retired, sailed small ships up and down the east coast as far as the West Indies.

Captain Bulger had two wives.  His first wife, Elva A. (Spurling) Bulger, died at age 18, three months after their son Charles Henry Bulger was born.  Because William was sailing, Charles grew up in the home of Lew Ladd (now opposite Macfarlan's.)  Charles attended the Longfellow School until he was 14 years old, then moved to Bar Harbor to live with his uncle, Alfred Bulger, and to work in Alfred's store.  Later he met Nettie Ash.  They were married and became the parents of four daughters, eventually moving to Massachusetts.  Charles' family often spent part of the summer with William and "Dena."  His daughters Pauline and Leone often spoke of attending dances over the school house.

William originally lived in the house currently owned by the Strandbergs, but around 1921 he swapped houses with Henry Bunker.  The remainder of his life he lived in the house currently owned by the Harlans. It was the 1930s before electricty and plumbing were installed in that house by Charles.

Captain William's second wife was Bernadine J. Tennyson.

Every autumn William raked a large crate of cranberries, sending it to his son Charles in Malden, Massachusetts, where Charles' wife Nettie made mince meat and cranberry sauce.

Captain William died of pneumonia after falling down a small pantry ladder into his basement.  He is buried in the Spurling Cemetery.


click to enlarge

Charles H. Bulger,
William's son

courtesy of Charlotte Harlan

William at age 73
courtesy of George Harlan

Elva A. (Spurling) Bulger

b. Dec 1856
m. 25 Aug. 1874
d. 13 Jun 1875
age 18y 6m 5d


Elva was born a Spurling.
She was the first wife of William H. Bulger.

From the original Certificate of Marriage, we see they were married by Justice of the Peace Abraham Fernald on 25 August 1874 (when Elvie was 17 and William was 29.)  Both were residents of Cranberry Isles, Hancock County.  Witnesses were George Bulger and Clara A. Gilley.

She was the mother of Charles Henry Bulger.
Buried in the Spurling Cemetery.


courtesy of Charlotte Harlan

Marriage Certificate

courtesy of Charlotte Harlan

Bernadine J. "Dena" (Tennyson) Bulger

b. 17 Dec 1864
d. 31 Oct 1923


Bernadine was born a Tennyson.
"Dena" was the second wife of William H. Bulger.
She was from Norway, and worked as a domestic on MDI before she married Captian Bulger.
Her black wedding dress, on display in the Museum, had only a 17-inch waist.  Brides did not necessarily wear white in those days.  Some say they preferred black because the dress could be used for other purposes, such as to attend funerals.
Buried in the Spurling Cemetery.


The Bulger House


Toward the end of his life -- around 1821 -- Captain Bulger swapped his large house for the smaller house of Henry and Alta Bunker -- who had a growing family.  The Bunkers paid an additional amount for the swap.
Original Bulger house

courtesy of Charlotte Harlan

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