William Thomas Compton was born in Bon Temps in 1835 to William Compton and Margaret Lattermilk Compton. He married Caroline Shelby in 1855. His father, who was dying, pressured young William to marry Caroline prior to their meeting for economic reasons; he wanted to ensure his wife's financial security after his death by combining the Compton and Shelby's lands. Young William reluctantly agreed. Fortunately, he fell in love with Caroline almost immediately upon meeting her. They had two children: Sarah Compton and Thomas Compton. ("May Be the Last Time")
In 1862, Bill went off to serve as First Lieutenant in the 28th Louisiana Infantry. After the war, Bill took a shortcut on his way home and got lost. Weak and without food, he found a cabin in which the seductive vampireLorena Krasiki posed as a widow and gave him food and shelter. When she began to make sexual advances toward Bill, he refused her and upheld his morals as a married man. Intrigued and stunned, the vampire decided to turn him into a vampire, instead of solely feeding on and killing him. ("Sparks Fly Out")
Bill was made vampire by Lorena, the supposed widow who aided him. Unable to return to his previous life with his wife and children, he did not return to Bon Temps until the death of his son Thomas in 1868. ("Sparks Fly Out")
Bill and Lorena settled in San Francisco for a time, and frequently visited the Comstock Brothel run by Pamela Swynford De Beaufort. The pair delighted in torturing and slowly draining the prostitutes there. However, the much older and more powerful vampire Eric Northman interceded at the behest of Pam, easily subduing Lorena and repelling the newly turned Bill, when he attempted to protect her. Frightened of Northman, Lorena quickly left, after apologizing to Pam and agreeing to pay $500 for every prostitute they drained. ("Whatever I Am, You Made Me")
Bill briefly visits his aged daughter while she is on her deathbed. When she asks him to turn her into a vampire because she is afraid to die, Bill refuses her request stating immortality is a curse.
Lorena and Bill were lovers. Posing as French tourists in Chicago, they tricked and viciously fed on a well-off couple, the lady of which had a valuable necklace. Mid-feeding, Bill took the necklace and gave it to Lorena. ("Hard-Hearted Hannah")
Bill and Lorena lived in Los Angeles, California. Having grown tired of his murderous lifestyle, Bill begged Lorena for her to release him. When she refused, Bill admitted that he never really loved her, even retorting that she had been and always would be a sad and lonely creature. When Lorena's anger flared up, Bill threatened to stake himself. In tears, Lorena finally relented and let Bill go. ("Release Me")
Bill had a sexual encounter with the vampire Diane. ("Mine")
Bill Compton was feeding on Callum outside of a Pub in London, England. Vampire Nan Flanagan approached him, baring her fangs to show her older age. Nan questioned Bill on why he didn't kill his dinner after he was done. Bill told Nan he thought humans were more important, believing they served a purpose. Nan stated she knew of a vampire group who thought like him (The Authority) and said that a notable vampire (Louis Pasteur) was creating a Synthetic blood called "Tru Blood."