A Memoir of the Rapier's: Life and History

Arlene Janoski

Book Cover



    Core Theme



    Earlier 20th Century,1920s & '30s,1940s & '50s,1960s & '70s,Across Centuries











    Stories told at our family gatherings were interesting, fascinating, and amazing. In "Memoir" there are interwoven family traditions, Homespun yarns, facts, and history of our family from before the 16th century in England to America through the years until the middle of 20th century. M

    Target Audiences

    Age: 35-54,55+

    Target Gender: Other,Universal


    England to America

    Based on a True Story


    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: with a Publisher

    Publisher: iUniverse

    Year Published: 2019

    Starting Description

    This story tells of the brave men and women of our family. The English branch of the family owned their own ships and some settled in North Carolina where they had large plantations and slaves. A branch of the family migrated to Tennessee,then after the Civil War.

    Ending Description

    The end of the story is the life of my parents and their children. They lived in a dugout in Southeastern Colorado where they had their first two children. they lived through the Great Depression. My father served in WWI. My served in WWII and Korea. One brother was killed in the "Police Action".

    Group Specific

    Hard Copy Available




    Mature Audience Themes

    Information not completed

    Plot - Other Elements


    Plot - Premise


    Main Character Details

    Name: Clarence Thomas 'Tommy' Rapier

    Age: Child to Man

    Gender: Male

    Role: Logical

    Key Traits: Masculine,Uneducated

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Development Pitch


    Stories told at our family gatherings were interesting, fascinating, and amazing. In "Memoir" there are interwoven family traditions, homespun yarns, facts, and history of a family from before the 16th century in England to America through the years until the middle of 20th century.

    What We Liked

    - There are many aspects of modern life that are taken for granted. Automobiles, grocery stores, and indoor plumbing were luxuries not available in the 19th century and into the 20th century if you weren't wealthy. The way people lived from day to day literally changed with the weather. Also, there was famine, disease and the reliance on animals. This family endures it all, often having to move for new opportunities or to escape a bad situation.
    - Film: The different locations of outdoor vistas in different periods would be great for a big screen. The conflict of man vs. nature and man vs. man keep a story moving and the drama high.
    - TV: The many different problems that need to be solved or overcome for life to go on could be interesting television and it lends itself to segmentation - and with cliffhangers to see how the problem was solved. The strains on relationships from everyday survival could keep the drama high.
    - Key points: Man vs. Nature; Historical settings; The drama of large families; Dealing with life or death odds; Wars.


    After some history of England’s royal lineage, it is noted that the name “Raper” was granted a coat of arms in the 16th century. Elizabeth Raper, an American colonist, wrote a cookbook and diary in the late 1700s. Many Rapers served in the Confederate Army.

    TERRESSE screams at the witch in her dream. It was going after her husband Larkin, who is away at war for the Confederacy. They fear the marauding bands of murderers and thieves. Some of these come by the house, and she gives them some bread after hiding the cow and mules in the woods. She finds out her husband Larkin died in Mississippi as a soldier in 1863. Neighbors were split between supporting the North and the South in the war. She decides to take her children to live in Missouri. They take their wagon along the Trail of Tears and meet her brother ROBERT on the other side of the Mississippi River in Missouri. In Missouri, they have to take an oath against the Confederacy - but Terrese’s heart isn’t in it.

    JACOB, is born in 1855. Some family members thought the name Raper wasn’t classy enough so they changed it to Rapier. He was 35 when he married his second wife JOSEPHINE in 1890. They were not a confederate family. Jacob’s mother Terresse died in 1896. A woman helping to prep her for burial asks Jacob if he could have her ring but Jacob says no. He later sees the woman wearing the same ring. He gets the police, and a judge orders that they exhume Josie’s body to see if she’s wearing the ring. Everyone is horrified to see that Josie scratched on her coffin lid - she must have been in a deep coma when they buried her. The ring was missing. Jacob’s youngest son TOMMY, is the author’s father. In the late 1800s, an average of 100 African Americans were lynched each year in the south. Tommy and his brothers work with race horses. Tommy becomes a horse trick rider and cowboy, working at ranches in the midwest. He joins the 101 Circus, working with horses, and meets Will Rodgers. When his father comes to get him, he misses out when the show tours England. World War I has started. He goes to work for a cattle company and rides a horse that leads cattle. One bad winter kills a lot of the cattle he was herding. The Rapier family moved to Colorado in 1912. In 1917, America declares war on Germany. Tommy doesn’t get his draft notice from moving around so much working at ranches and was lucky he knew the judge he had to see or would have been jailed. Tommy goes to England as a soldier. He gets into a fight with another soldier who has a picture of his mother. They find out they are half-brothers.

    The author’s grandparents, THEODORE, born in 1870, and his wife ROSA, born in 1881, live in Oklahoma after Colorado. The author's mother ELSIE is born to them in 1903. Tommy becomes a stone mason and they move to Texas. Theodore helps tree a mountain lion. They live in a boarding house, then open one of their own. Detailed instructions are given on how the first odometer was made and how to build a house out of sod in the prairie where Tommy and Elsie live after they are married in 1919. They are plagued by grasshoppers, prairie dogs, rabbits, and the weather started fires.

    The Rapiers settle in an area of Colorado that was previously the territory of a grizzly bear who killed hundreds of cattle and horses, and a few people, until a professional hunter was brought in to kill it. Tommy and Elsie move to Oklahoma and their parents followed them. They give birth to CAROL, who has a defective heart and developed asthma. Tommy falls into an oil tank but catches a rope and saves himself but develops back problems and wouldn’t let any doctors perform surgery on him. They live modestly through the Great Depression in 1929 and the Dust Bowl which begins 1931. Grandpa and grandma Shaw lived with them on and off. Grandpa is a jack of all trades. To cool off they went outside for picnics. During prohibition they make gin in the basement. The dust from the big storms make Tommy ill and they decide to move back to Colorado, now a larger family with the births of JOSEPHINE, EUGENE, THEODOSIA, and twins GARY and GAY. Gary only lives 18 days. They often didn’t know where their next meal will come from but Elsie’s sewing helps sometimes. They plant a vegetable garden. They had their eighth child, ALTON. They move to Missouri where a tornado takes off their roof. Elsie, while pregnant, threatens suicide and is sent to her parents to rest. In 1939, their next child (the author) ARLEEN is born, and they move into a bigger house.

    They move over a dozen times over Arleen’s childhood and she made no long-term friendships. They end up back in Colorado where they raise hogs, tend to a golf course and sell milk. Arlene comes down with scarlet fever. Eugeone enlists after the US enters WWII. Carol runs away when she is 17. Josephine brings home an Italian named JOHNNY from the east coast and marries him. Grandpa Shaw dies in 1944. Carol marries a Navy man in 1945. Tommy’s job transfers them all to Utah, but when he finds out he has a woman for a boss he quits. He gets a job driving a taxi and an ambulance, transporting many kids with polio during the epidemic. Eugene buys some property in Colorado after his discharge so they move again.

    They make a big move to Connecticut to live with Johnny and Josephine. Six months later they move back to Colorado. Gay elopes with BOB in 1949 at age 16. Eugene tries to re-enlist for the Korean war. They move to Utah again to live with Carol and her husband. Argul gets married in 1951. Tommy has his back broken by a bulldozer and is put in a full body cast but he cuts it off with a pocket knife. He has a vision of Argul in trouble, then they find out he was killed the same day from a land mine in Korea. They move to another part of Colorado so Tommy can be closer to work.

    About The Author

    The author lives beneath the awe-inspiring Sangre de Cristo mountains in Westcliffe, Colorado where she loves to write about her heritage and events that have touched her life. She also paints, quilts, and parctices various handiwork and genealogy.