I have seen several written accounts as to the origin of the of the RAPER name.The most common and credible explantation of which I am aware is that RAPER, RAPIER and ROPER are all surnames that probably once denoted the family's CRAFT or occupation:ROPE MAKER.
I have occasionally caused some distress or upset within this forum by discussing my own theory that SOME RAPERs in the United States may also have either purposefully or shifted the spelling of their family name from ROPER to RAPER.
Those who might have "purposefully" altered the spelling may have been focused on what the name MEANT as opposed to how it SOUNDS.And just as we have regional accents and patterns of speech, including preferences for for word or another, to the extent that the LOCAL word for ROPE MAKER was RAPIER or RAPER rather than ROPER, the surname may have occasionally followed the common MEANING rather than a traditional spelling.
Inadvertent changes to the spelling might have arisen through either poor penmanship or illiteracy.It is important to bear in mind that in olden times there were probably far FEWER occasions for a persons name to be recorded -- written down -- and a far smaller portion of the population able to read and write, particularly at the frontier.Many people had to rely upon OTHERS to read and write even the most basic documents.
If a name were incorrectly transcribed or misspelled and this misspelling went undicsovered/undetected others might come to also use and rely upon that misspelling.
I should caution you that my views on this subject are far from mainstream and there are those who would and do vigorously argue otherwise.
But there were very clearly early, prominant and well established RAPERs as well as ROPERs in England.ANd there are a number of early RAPER records in the United States.
But there are also MANY instances where these names HAVE been confused in the records, if not persistently by particular branches of the family, at least frequently and intermittantly over wide geographic areas and extended periods of time.And for this reason, I usually make a habit of carefully checking various genealogical source materials for several different spelling variants on every occasion that I come across a good prospective source of genealogical information.
And I would encourage you to take PRIDE in your name!I have come across many distinguished RAPERs in my own genealogical investigations.