The Kropp Cousins got together in December for their annual Christmas party. The 15 relatives gathered at Kentwood Restaurant in Kent for lunch, and then had a gift exchange.
Betty Fisher of Shalersville organized the event, and her sister, Rita Kline of Shalersville, made bird tokens as gifts for everyone.
The others attending were Portage County residents Al and Bonnie Auth, Joanne Tillett, Dave and Irene Ruehr, Tawnee and Winifred Slabaugh, and Mary Louise Ruehr, along with Ron Kropp of Leavittsburg, Carol Bir of Marietta, Bob Griffith of Columbus, and Arlene Burtscher and Rhonda Stover of New Philadelphia.
Following the luncheon, Betty Fisher answered questions about the old family property in Wayland, Spring Ridge Farm, which is now part of the Ravenna Arsenal.
She explained that in 1940 "someone from the government came around" and told everyone on the designated land that they had to be out in 30 days, and he didn't know how much money they'd be given for their land. This led to a kind of family diaspora.
Within those 30 days, Bill and Elta Ruehr were married, and they took Elta's father, family patriarch Philip Kropp, to live with them on their newly purchased farm in Shalersville. Bryan and Gladys Kropp (Betty and Rita's parents) and their five children moved to their new farm in Shalersville. (Gladys' parents, Curt and Effie Porter, also had to leave their home; they moved to Ravenna.) Haydn and Mary (Kropp) Williams and their four children, who also had to move, went to Suffield, and later to Ravenna.
Other family members lived just outside the designated area and were able to keep their homes.