Arch fought at the Battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715.
Events of the Novels
In October 1770, Arch and his wife Murdina Bug meet Jamie Fraser while at the Gathering on Mount Helicon. Knowing he will need people to work on the Ridge while he is busy raising a militia, Jamie offers the Bugs a homestead on Fraser's Ridge, appointing Arch as factor and Murdina as housekeeper. Because of Arch's advanced age and injury to his hand, he would be ineligible for service in the militia and thus could be depended upon to mind matters on the Ridge in Jamie's absence.
A Breath of Snow and Ashes
In April 1773, Arch goes with Roger MacKenzie and Tom Christie to retrieve the Scottish emigrants currently residing in Cross Creek and Campbelton. And then assisted in escorting the new families back to Fraser’s Ridge.
During September of 1773, Arch tells the tale of how he lost two fingers at the hands of the Frasers of Glenhelm to Jamie and Claire, the topic seeming appropriate given the recent injury sustained to Tom Christie’s hand.
In October 1773, a band of bandits attacked Claire and Marsali Fraser - taking Claire hostage. Arch joined with Jamie, Tom Christie, Roger, Fergus, Ian, and Kenny Lindsay to rescue Claire. They slaughtered the entire group except for Lionel Brown, whom they take back to the Ridge for questioning. Lionel was kept at Bug’s home while being held for interrogation.
Days later, Lionel Brown crawls from the Bug's cabin all the way to the Big House, where Claire tends to his injuries and he implores her for mercy. While Claire is out of the surgery for a minute, Mrs. Bug smothers Brown with a pillow and kills him. In anticipation of retribution, Arch Bug offers his own life in place of wife's, but Jamie spares them both.
In December 1776, one of Donner's men finds a gold ingot in Mrs. Bug's work basket, revealing that Arch was the one who had stolen Jocasta's gold hoard. Arch admits that he was the masked man all those years ago who received, on behalf of his laird, Malcolm Grant, one-third of the French gold that was intended to aid Charles Stuart's rebellion. This reasonably results in Jamie terminating Arch's employment as factor and requesting that the Bugs leave the Ridge.
An Echo in the Bone
In January 1777, Mrs. Bug comes to the ruins of the Big House at night to retrieve the gold that is hidden underneath it. Jamie thinks that it is her husband, Arch, and calls him. However, Mrs. Bug turns round and shoots Jamie in the leg – only then he realizes that it is in fact her, as Arch wouldn't be able to hold a pistol in his right hand. Ian sees his uncle fall, and although Jamie tries to warn him as to the identity of the shooter, he kills Mrs. Bug with an arrow to the throat. Ian is stricken with guilt and feels the weight of his mistake – Mrs. Bug was a grandmother figure to him. Mrs. Bug's funeral is held a few days later, and Arch Bug is in attendance. Ian faces him and admits that he is responsible for his wife's death, and Arch tells him he will see Ian again when Ian has something worth taking – a wife of his own – and then have his vengeance.
While the Frasers are trying to get to Scotland, Arch is still following and tracking Ian. And while Ian is trying to find kin to two young ‘boys’ Arch takes one of the children threatening him. During the events it is revealed the ‘boys’ are actually girls. And no matter how much vengeance Arch wants against Ian he could not kill an innocent child to get it. He left but the fact he was still around made it clear to Ian he was not going to give up.
In the summer of 1777 Arch happens upon William Ransom and recognizing him as possible kin to Jamie, inquires after the whereabouts of one Ian Murray. William, disconcerted by the fact that Arch says he believes William knows Murray, tells him that he met Murray in the Great Dismal, but had no idea where he might currently be. Arch then asked about William's bear claw necklace, and then about his name, and William tells him it's none of his business before riding away.
In May of 1778, Arch has tracked Ian though more importantly the woman he loves, Rachel Hunter to Philadelphia. When he comes across Rachel with Rollo on the streets he tries to attack her, however he is thwarted by William. Later, still following Rachel, he comes to the printshop to get to Rachel. Ian fights him, but ultimately it is William who kills Mr. Bug.
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Arch Bug was tall and thin, with a long face, a long-beaked nose, bright blue eyes, and "scanty white locks tied back from a high and balding brow". Upon meeting him, Roger mentally notes that in spite of poor dentition, Mr. Bug's mouth "retained its humorous curve", and compares the elderly man's "neat but threadbare" appearance to that of a "genial vulture".
- Arch is a diminutive of varied names beginning with the syllable "Arch-" such as Archibald, derived from the Germanic elements ercan "genuine" and bald "bold".
- Bug is of Norman origin, from the place name Buge.
- There is documentation of a Scottish immigrant named Archibald Bug arriving in North Carolina in 1740.