Early Memories of Taylor Rapids, Wisconsin

Early Memories of Taylor Rapids, Wisconsin

The following poem by Wayne Knapp speaks of his childhood home in Taylor Rapids, Wisconsin, a town lost to time and nature not far south of Goodman in the far northern wilderness of the state. Taylor Rapids was once home to logging companies and their families, slicing up the forests of northern Wisconsin. The Knapp family was one of the last to turn out the lights on this temporary community before traveling towards hope and money to Oregon then Washington State and settling there. What remains of Taylor Rapids is a wilderness area reverted back to nature, all owned by the state. There are a few cabins for fishing and hunting along the Peshtigo River, but other than outdoor recreation, few visit this abandoned area. Revisiting it in 2006, we were dismayed to see nothing left of the buildings, and yet rejoicing as the area now resembles much of what it must have looked like when the family arrived, not barren when they left.

EARLY MEMORIES

Glenn Knapp climbing fence around old log cabin homestead, Taylor Rapids, Wisconson c 1925My old home was just a cabin,
Simply built, by sweat of brow.
Tamarack logs fit tight together —
In my dreams – I see it now!

No coat of paint to hide it’s roughness,
No architect to lay it’s plans!
It was built just plain and simple
By young inexperienced hands.

“Build it strong and snug, wayfarer,
Winter’s winds blow hard and long,
Forcing snow in chinks and crevasse;
If it stands, it must be strong!”

In the north-woods of Wisconsin,
By the river, Peshtigo;
In that sturdy old log cabin,
I was raised — so long ago!

Home-made bed with straw for mattress,
Wood stove burning, day and night;
Winter’s cold crept in regardless,
Freezing everything in sight!

Soon a snug, warm barn was builded,
With it’s hey loft high and wide,
Filled with seasoned local grasses,
Safe from wrath of storms outside.

Knapp, Taylor Rapids, Michigan, Making maple syrup and sugar in the hardwoods with Zack Napier, Allen Knapp, and little Glen Knapp.Stalls to hold the cows and horses;
And a pen for off-spring small.
Bins to hold the oats and barley,
Fastened tight against the wall.

Entering there in dead of winter,
Barn smells to m nose unfold;
Leaving crunch of snow at doorstep,
Welcome warmth against the cold!

How I’ve massed those days of childhood,
And my mother’s voice so clear,
Calling us boys in for “supper”,
In those days of yesteryear!

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Wayne Knapp

About Wayne Knapp

Wayne Knapp (1914-1999) was born in Wausaukee, Wisconsin, and grew up in Taylor Rapids, Wisconsin, one of the last logging towns in northern Wisconsin. Son of James Asa Knapp and Emma Beatrice Primley, he moved with his family after the death of the logging industry to Oregon for a few years and then north to the Seattle area of Washington State. He married Leatha "Myrtle" Odell in 1936 in Monroe, Washington, and worked for many years for Boeing Security in Seattle. He wrote two books on his childhood in Taylor Rapids, and many poems and short stories. We are honored by the permission of his daughter, Sharon Lee, to republish his work on our site. Copyright Sharon Lee.
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