William Buccleigh MacKenzie is the illegitimate son of Dougal MacKenzie and Geillis Duncan, and was raised by William John and Sarah MacKenzie. He and his wife emigrated to America with their infant son, Jeremiah.
William Buccleigh was born in December 1743 to Geillis Duncan, an accused witch and murderer. As she was condemned to die, William was taken to be raised by another family who had recently lost an infant, and they gave him the dead child's name, a common practice at the time. Unbeknownst to William, he was the illegitimate son of Dougal MacKenzie, war chieftain of Clan MacKenzie, who had had an affair with Geillis.
Having grown up with no knowledge of his true history, William became a lawyer and married Morag MacKenzie. After the birth of their first child, Jeremiah, the small family emigrated to the Royal Colony of North Carolina.
Events of the Novels
Drums of Autumn
When Roger MacKenzie is traveling from Scotland to America aboard the Gloriana in 1769, he encounters a young mother who turns out to be his four-times great-grandmother, Morag MacKenzie. After the crew has thrown several poxed children overboard, Roger discovers his ancestor hiding belowdecks with her infant son, Jeremiah (Roger's three-times great-grandfather), after a confused and desperate plea from William Buccleigh to Roger that he not reveal his wife and child's hiding place.
The Fiery Cross
Roger encounters William Buccleigh once more at the Battle of Alamance during the War of the Regulation in North Carolina, 1771. Sent by Jamie across the line between the governor's men and the Regulators to entreaty their leader to a peaceful resolution, Roger runs into Buccleigh's wife, Morag, and feels compelled to speak to her, she being one of the few blood relatives Roger has ever known and whom he protected onboard the Gloriana a few years earlier. This peculiar affinity further impels Roger to kiss her; Buccleigh witnesses this, and becomes enraged and bent on retribution. Taking Roger by force, Buccleigh assures his wife that no harm will come to Roger, but once he has gotten Roger away from her, Buccleigh and his men beat up, bind and gag Roger and take him to the governor's camp, where they claim to be part of the governor's militia and hand over Roger as their Regulator captive. Roger, floating in and out of consciousness and unable to speak for himself, is hanged to set an example to the defeated Regulators.
An Echo in the Bone
Having returned to the twentieth century, Roger, Brianna and the children take up residence at Lallybroch and begin to settle themselves to building a life there in 1980. This pipe dream is interrupted by the sudden, unexpected appearance of William Buccleigh MacKenzie, Roger's ancestor who nearly had him killed by hanging back in 1771. Buck eventually explains that he and his wife, Morag, along with their son Jeremiah, had returned to Scotland from North Carolina and stopped for a respite near the standing stones on Craigh na Dun in 1782, and he, Buck, accidentally threw himself almost 200 years into the future.
After wandering around Inverness for a time, getting his bearings and coming to grips with what had happened to him, Buck found out that Roger was nearby and found his way to Lallybroch. Jemmy and Mandy had found him out while he was hiding, but he convinced them that he was a Nuckelavee, a horrifying creature out of Scottish folklore.
Written in My Own Heart's Blood
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William is prone to rash action and jealousy, which can sometimes prove to be a deadly combination.
Dirty blonde hair, broad-boned, handsome face with deep, striking green eyes.
William met Morag Gunn while he was in her town for writing a will. He had fallen madly in love with her but the feelings weren't fully returned. She liked him well enough but her heart was set on Donald McAllister. In the wake of Donald being caught with another woman, and a bit worse for the drink herself, Morag gave up saying no and let Buck bed her.
After realizing she was with child her father and three brothers forced her and Buck to wed. To prevent her from still seeing and longing for Donald, Buck took her and their son Jeremiah to North Carolina. Buck continued to exhibit his jealousy even when there was nothing to be jealous of, such as the innocent meeting between her and Roger MacKenzie - the man who had saved Jeremiah's life during their journey to the colonies - that resulted in Roger being wrongfully hanged.
When Buck had still been unable to establish his practice and money was tight, they came back to Scotland. By 1782 they had expanded their family having three more children when Buck went missing through the stones at Craigh na Dun. After coming nearly 200 years in the future Buck feels it would be better for his wife and children if he didn't return. It would allow Morag to be a widow and remarry - possibly Donald who he knows she still harbored feelings for - or at the least live with her father who had inherited the farm.
- William comes from the Germanic name Willahelm, which was composed of the elements wil "will, desire" and helm "helmet, protection".
- Buccleigh may derive from several possible places:
- Buckley, among various alternative spellings, is a surname that may derive from the Old English 'bok lee,' meaning meadow, or field.
- Buckley may also come from the Irish Gaelic buachaill, whose original meaning was 'herdsman' and in modern Irish has come to mean 'boy'.
- Buccleigh may also be related to the ducal title Buccleuch, which originally comes from a holding in the Scottish Borders, near Selkirk, and whose meaning comes from the Old English 'buck-cleugh' meaning 'deer ravine'.
- MacKenzie is the anglicized form of MacCoinnich, a Gaelic patronymic name meaning "son of Coinneach". The personal name Coinneach means "handsome" or "comely".
- In Dragonfly in Amber, Claire reads from the Reverend's chart with Roger's family history that William was born in 1744. In Outlander, Dougal talks to Claire in December 1743 and tells her that the child has already been born.
- According to the family tree drawn up by the Reverend Reginald Wakefield
- Behind the Name – Accessed 17 March 2014
- House of Names – accessed 24 June 2014
- Buckley (surname), Wikipedia. Accessed 28 January 2016.
- Barrington, Archibald. A Familiar Introduction to Heraldry: Explaining in a Series of Lectures the Principles of the Science, and Shewing Its Application to the Study of History and Architecture. London: H.G. Bohn, 1848. Web. 24 June 2014.
- Duke of Buccleuch (Wikipedia) – accessed 24 June 2014
- Behind the Name