About the Collection
William Edwin Rappleye
by Jeffrey S. Hardy
William Edwin Rappleye was born on 24 February 1887 in Mesa, Maricopa County, Arizona, to David Franklin Marcellus Rappleye and Laura Elizabeth Morris. He was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) on 7 March 1895. Sometime in his early years his family relocated to Cowley, Big Horn County, Wyoming.
On 1 June 1911 William left home to begin a proselytizing mission for the LDS Church. He was called to the Eastern States Mission and after arriving in New York City was assigned to labor in the Vermont Conference. William adjusted well to missionary life and conveyed an optimistic spirit in his journal, often writing of himself in the third person and using such phrases as “we went on our way rejoicing.”1 An unusual trial came in January 1912 when William and his companions were quarantined in their house for a month for small pox; at the end of this ordeal William exclaimed, “Glad to get out of the 31 days of imprisonment….This is a glorious day and we took a walk down to the lake,”2
Soon after this episode William was transferred to Canada. Here he faced much opposition from government officials. On one occasion he recorded, “We met with the Chief of Police to day and he had the gall to ask us to leave town again said we would be arrested for a public nuisance.”3 He soon returned to Vermont and continued tracting and holding open air meetings. In February 1913 William transferred to New Jersey where he spent the remainder of his mission. After more than two years away, William returned home from his mission on 23 July 1913.
A month after returning from his mission William obtained employment in a sugar factory in Billings, Montana. There he married Carrie Huldah Drew, a friend from Vermont, on 29 November 1913; they settled in Wyoming and were blessed with eight children, six of whom survived infancy. William labored for a time as a home missionary, preaching in the small branches of the Church in Wyoming. Around 1928 he moved his family to Wendell, Gooding County, Idaho, where he engaged in farming. Tragically, William Edwin Rappleye died at the young age of forty-three on 30 May 1930.
1 William Edwin Rappleye, “Diaries, 1911–1914,” 27 November 1911. MSS 832, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
2 Ibid., 19-20 February 1912.
3 Ibid., 6 May 1912.
Ancestry World Tree Project. Provo, Utah: MyFamily.com Inc., 2003. 16 April 2004 available from http://www.ancestry.com/trees/awt/main.htm.
Rappleye, William Edwin. “Diaries, 1911–1914.” MSS 832, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.