|“|| "Mama says the Beardsleys follow her around like dogs, but they don’t. They follow her like tame wolves."
"I thought Ian said it wasn’t possible to tame wolves."
"It isn’t," she said tersely.
Josiah and Keziah Beardsley, or Jo and Kezzie, are identical twin brothers who were indentured to Aaron and Fanny Beardsley. They are skilled hunters, and a bit feral, owing to fending for themselves in the backcountry for most of their lives.
Jo and Kezzie were orphaned young, around age two or three, during their family's passage from Europe to the colonies. Without any relatives to pay the family's debt for the voyage, the ship's captain sold the twins, to be indentured for thirty years against the debt. A man named Aaron Beardsley bought their indenture and brought them to his homestead as servants. Around age five, Keziah suffered an injury that caused a pronounced deafness.
Events of the NovelsEdit
In late October 1770, at the Gathering at Mount Helicon, Jamie Fraser asks Josiah to become his tenant—Jo is fourteen and therefore would not be called to join the militia, and has excellent hunting skills. Jo accepts Jamie's offer and promises to come to the Ridge in the winter, but first has some business to take care of. Jamie and Claire later learn that Jo has a twin brother, Kezzie, who still lives with Aaron Beardsley, and Jo wants to get him out of there.
When Jo and his twin brother Kezzie arrive at the Ridge, Claire performs tonsillectomies on them—they are her first patients to be given her homemade penicillin.
In November 1774, Lizzie Wemyss reveals that she is pregnant, and the father of her child is one of the twins, but neither she nor they know which one. After Jamie Fraser handfasts Lizzie to Kezzie, she and the twins secretly go to Roger and ask him to marry Lizzie to Jo. Their son Rodney is born on April 19, 1775.
In March 1777, Lizzie gives birth to Jo or Kezzie's second child, a girl.
Upon Claire's return to the Ridge in spring 1779, she learns that in her absence Lizzie had another son, and is pregnant with the Beardsleys' fourth child.
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They are nearly identical—small and lithe, with thick dark hair, distinguished only by Kezzie’s deafness and the round scar on Jo’s thumb. However, after Jamie makes Kezzie handfast to Lizzie, Jo gives the same mark to Kezzie so no one can easily tell who is who.
- Josiah means "Yaweh supports" in Hebrew.
- Keziah is from the Hebrew name קְצִיעָה (Qetzi'ah) meaning "cassia, cinnamon", from the name of the spice tree.
- Beardsley is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from some minor, unrecorded or now "lost" place, believed to have been situated in Nottinghamshire or Leicestershire where the name is most popular.
- While identical, the twins can be distinguished by Kezzie's pronounced deafness.