|First Appearance||The Sea Fairies|
Bill Weedles is an ex-sailor and a constant companion and guardian to a little girl named Trot, who calls him Cap'n Bill.
Bill is a grizzled old sailor man. His left leg is a wooden stick of hickory from the knee down. He's not a very tall man, and some might call him chubby or fat. Although he is retired, he still wears sailor clothes including blue trousers with wide legs. His sou'wester is a short coat of oilskin with big pockets that contain a wonderful jackknife, a pipe and tobacco, and bits of string, matches, keys, and lots of other things.
His head is mostly bald as an egg and shiny as an oilcloth, which makes his big ears stick out in a funny way. He has just a fringe of hair around the back of his head, and a fringe of whisker around the edge of his face, running from ear to ear under his chin. His eyes are pale blue with a gentle look to them, his nose is big and broad, and his few teeth are not even strong enough to crack nuts.
Bill enjoys smoking a pipe, which he carries in an oilskin pouch in a pocket of his coat. After a difficult ordeal, smoking helps restore his composure gives him opportunity to think.
Bill was the captain of a trading schooner called the Anemone until the accident in which he lost his leg. After that he retired and moved into a boarding house run by the wife of his replacement and former first mate Charlie Griffiths.
Around that same time, Charlie's wife gave birth to a daughter named Mayre, who was later nicknamed "Trot." Bill became her protector and companion and the two are inseperable. Bill told her stories of the sea and she enjoyed his company more than playing with any of the children in the nearby village.
During their visit to the undersea world, Trot and Cap'n Bill were made prisoners of Zog the Terrible. While in Zog's castle, Bill was temporarily reunited with his brother Joe. King Anko destroyed Zog and the prisoners were rescued. Trot and Cap'n Bill returned to the surface world soon after. (The Sea Fairies)
When Button-Bright arrived in California with his Magic Umbrella, Trot and Cap'n Bill joined him on a picnic trip that ended up at Sky Island. They landed in the Blue Country and were captured by the Boolooroo. Bill was enslaved as the Royal Nectar Mixer until he and his companions escaped through the Fog Bank to the Pink Country. There they gathered an army of Pinkies and returned to the Blue Country, which they eventually conquered. Trot re-organized the governments of both sides of the island, and the travelers returned home to America. (Sky Island)
Trot and Bill were later caught up in a whirlpool, and pulled below the surface to a subteranean cave. There they encountered an Ork who accompanied them through dark caverns to eventually escape into the sunlight. After a few more adventures they found themselves in Jinxland, which is part of the Land of Oz. King Krewl suspected that Bill was a powerful wizard, and so the witch Blinkie transformed the old sailor into a grasshopper (with a wooden leg). The Scarecrow made the witch reverse the enchantment, and brought Bill and Trot over the mountains into the Land of Oz proper, where Princess Ozma invited them to stay. (The Scarecrow of Oz)
- The Sea Fairies (first appearance)
- Sky Island
- The Scarecrow of Oz
- Rinkitink in Oz
- The Magic of Oz
- The Royal Book of Oz
- Kabumpo in Oz (mentioned)
Bill is a type of character — comical but also serious, avuncular but capable and effective — that Baum creates elsewhere: in Uncle John Merrick in the Aunt Jane's Nieces books, and Uncle Naboth Perkins in Sam Steele's Adventures on Land and Sea.
In Magic Land the character resembling Cap'n Bill is named Charlie Black; he is the uncle of the Dorothy-substitute heroine Ellie Smith. Unlike Bill, however, Charlie is still very active as a sailor. He sometimes displays building skills similar to Johnny Dooit, although without his speed.
Bill appears in the background of the Coronation scene in Return to Oz.
In Shadow Demon of Oz (2010) by James C. Wallace II, Cap'n Bill meets Jamie Diggs, the great grandson of O.Z. Diggs at a local auction barn and encourages him to purchase an Oz artifact. Later, he pilots the Wizard of Oz's balloon from Oz to a covered bridge festival in Indiana and escorts Jamie Diggs and his best friend, Buddy back to Oz, then eventually presents Jamie with the balloon upon his coronation as the new Royal Magician of Oz.
In Family of Oz (2011), by James C. Wallace II, Cap'n Bill visits the Great Outside and returns with a wagonload of Cobbler Tools which Prof. H.M. Wogglebug, T.E fashions into Cobbler the Dog, a mechanical pet for Tik-Tok.