|Go Tell the Bees That...
This page may contain MAJOR SPOILERS about Bobby Higgins from the latest book in the Outlander series, Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone. Read at your own peril!
Bobby Higgins is a former British soldier and servant, who settled at Fraser's Ridge in 1776 and married the widow Amy McCallum. After Amy's death in 1779, he marries again to Silvia Hardman. By 1781, he is serving as the factor of Fraser's Ridge and is one of Jamie's closest allies.
Bobby Higgins is originally from Dorset, England.
In March 1770, he was one of the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre. Bobby was convicted of manslaughter, but pled clergy and was realeased. However, he was branded with an "M" on his cheek. Shortly after his release, Bobby was beaten in a tavern, losing sight in one eye. He was hired as a sailor, but it soon became clear that it wasn't a job for him. Upon hearing Bobby's story from the captain of his ship, Lord John Grey hired Bobby as a servant.
Events of the Novels
A Breath of Snow and Ashes
Bobby Higgins comes to the Fraser's Ridge for the first time in April 1773, with a letter from Lord John Grey to Jamie Fraser, in which Grey describes Bobby's story and asks Claire to examine him, as Bobby occasionally faints.
Over the next few years, Bobby comes to the Ridge from time to time, delivering letters and packages from Grey. He also forms an attachment to Lizzie Wemyss, and later also Malva Christie. In September 1774, Lord John writes to Jamie mentioning Bobby's intentions to marry either Lizzie or Malva, however, Bobby's proposals aren't accepted by the girls' fathers.
In 1776, as many people (politicians and army personnel) come to stay with Lord John Grey, Bobby starts to feel uncomfortable at his estate due to the brand on his cheek, marking him as a murderer. In September, he comes to the Ridge and decides to stay. Roger MacKenzie introduces him to a young widow Amy McCallum.
An Echo in the Bone
Bobby and Amy married in December 1776, and live in the cabin that used to be occupied by Roger and Brianna MacKenzie. In March 1777, as Jamie and Claire prepare to leave the Ridge to go to Scotland, Jamie appoints Bobby factor, with the responsibility of overseeing the Frasers' property in their absence.
Written in My Own Heart's Blood
During Jamie and Claire's two year long absence, Bobby cleared of trees the land on which the Frasers' new house is to be built, laid timber in stacks and piled a large quantity of stones for the house's foundation.
Go Tell The Bees That I Am Gone
In 1779, Bobby is living on the Ridge and serving as factor. He helps Jamie in the construction of the New House, having helped collect materials prior to the Frasers' return. In Jamie's absense, he has approved tenants and helped twenty new families settle on the Ridge. He expresses concern about one such tenant, loyalist Charles Cunningham and is strongly in favor of rasing a militia company to help protect the Ridge.
A few weeks later, Bobby's wife Amy Higgins and his three sons are hunting for berries when Amy is mauled by a bear. Bobby arrives just in time to say goodbye to his wife, and is visibly destroyed by her death and subsequent burial. After her death, he largely raises his sons alone, though helped by a rotation of women from the Ridge willing to help manage the household, bring meals, and take care of the three young boys. Several of the young women are interested in Bobby, but he does not reciprocate.
Bobby is one of the ten men Jamie tells about the planned attack on him, and Jamie privately says that he would trust Bobby with his own life. Later, Bobby also accompanies Jamie and other men after Ulysees's company, in an attempt to protect Fraser's Ridge. He fights with Jamie on Kings Mountain in October 1780. After the battle, he meets Silvia Hardman, a Quaker and mother of three. The pair marry in February 1781.
Upon meeting Bobby for the first time, Claire describes him as a sweet-natured boy. He is well liked by his stepsons, and Brianna's son Jemmy.
Bobby is a slight, thin young man with pale skin and blue eyes. He has lost sight in one eye, and has a brand on his cheek, marking him as a murderer.
During his initial visits to Fraser's Ridge on behalf of Lord John Grey, Bobby became smitten with Lizzie Wemyss though she was already betrothed to Manfred McGillivray. He often sought out her company when at the Ridge and after the termination of her betrothal had, through Lord John, requested to speak with her father Joseph Wemyss about marrying her. His request was quickly dismissed by Joseph, who, out of concern for his daughter's welfare, did not want Lizzie to marry a branded murderer with little in the way of future prospects and stability. In the end, Lizzie ended up married to both Josiah and Keziah Beardsley.
Other than becoming interested in Lizzie during his trips to the Ridge, Bobby also developed an attraction to Malva Christie. This attraction grew into an intimate relationship. Bobby, via Lord john, had wanted to speak with Thomas Christie in regards to marriage, but the subject was never brought to Tom as Jamie was very certain the answer would be no. When word got out that Malva was with child, supposedly by Jamie, a fight broke out between Bobby and Ian, both of whom knew the other had slept with Malva. In the end, nothing came of his relationship with Malva before she was killed by her brother Allan Christie. It was later revealed that the child was Allan's, and he had put Malva up to lying with several of the young men on the Ridge to make it impossible to discover whose child it really was.
Bobby was introduced to the widow Amy McCallum by Roger MacKenzie in September 1776 when he came to live at the Ridge permanently. By December, the two were married, making him the stepfather to Aidan and Orrie, both of whom Bobby is fond of. The small family moved into Roger and Brianna's old cabin after the MacKenzie family left. When the Frasers left the Ridge in 1777, Bobby was appointed factor of the Ridge and he and Amy minded the property in their absence.
Almost two years after the death of his wife Amy, Bobby marries Silvia Hardman, a young Quaker mother of three daughters who has only just come to the Ridge. Bobby is reluctant to marry Silvia, due to his murderer's brand, as he feels he will not be a suitable partner, especially for a non-violent Quaker. Silvia does not blame Bobby for his actions, but believes that she herself is not suitable as a partner for Bobby. She is ashamed of being forced to resort to prostition to keep her daughters fed after their father abandoned their family, and worries that it will bring scandal and outrage to the community. The two decide neither minds the other's supposed transgressions, and marry surrounded by their enthusiastic children.
- Robert is from the Germanic name Hrodebert meaning "bright fame", derived from the Germanic elements hrod "fame" and beraht "bright".
- Higgins is the Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó hUiginn "descendant of Uiginn", a byname meaning "viking", "sea-rover" (from Old Norse víkingr).