Cope's Corn ad

An advertisement for Cope’s Corn was displayed in the Intelligencer Journal in 1926. The holiday meal staple had its origins in Rheems.

Dear Dr. Scribblercope:

Cope’s dried corn has always been part of holiday meals. When I was a kid I remember there were two Cope’s dried corns. There was John Cope’s in a green can instead of the pouch we have now, and Martin Cope’s in a yellow can.

I haven’t seen Martin Cope’s version in better than 40 years. What can you tell us about any relationship between the two men?

Greg Kulp

Fivepointville

Dear Greg:

The Cope family began drying corn about 1900. Martin Cope, grandfather of John F. Cope, began his operation in a barn on his Rheems farm. His family and neighbors did all of the husking and cooking and cutting kernels by hand. Then they dried the corn in kitchen stoves.

The business expanded, and Martin opened a processing plant in Rheems. His business thrived during the early years of the century, eventually expanding to nine plants.

The Depression reduced the number of dried-corn operations here to two: one owned by Martin and the other by his grandson. Martin died in 1947. So that’s why you haven’t seen Martin Cope’s corn in a yellow can for a long, long time.

In 1962, John F. Cope purchased the old Rheems plant and consolidated family operations. The family continued making Cope’s corn until 2006. Now Hanover Foods sells dried sweet corn under the Cope name in green pouches and cans.

So far as anyone around here knows, Cope’s is the only dried sweet corn made on this Earth. And, if you haven’t tasted it, you cannot begin to understand why it remains so popular 120 years or so after Martin Cope cooked his first batch.

Dear Dr. Scribblerike:

I am reading a book titled “The Age of Eisenhower.” The author mentions that Dwight Eisenhower’s forebears settled in the Susquehanna Valley and then relocated. There is no indication as to location. Do you know anything about this?

Francis Melan

Lancaster

Dear Francis:

President “Ike” Eisenhower’s ancestors did live in Lancaster County before moving west to Kansas. And then Eisenhower himself moved back to Pennsylvania after defeating the Nazis and serving as president.

Here are the details.

The Eisenhowers arrived in America in 1741 and settled near Elizabethville. Elizabethville is now in Dauphin County, but Dauphin County at that time did not exist. It was part of Lancaster County. So the Eisenhowers actually settled in Lancaster County.

The family remained here until 1878. Then the president’s grandparents moved to the Belle Springs, near Abilene, Kansas. In 1879, a number of members of the Brethren in Christ Church migrated from Lancaster and surrounding counties. They settled near the Eisenhowers in Kansas.

In the mid-1880s, several of these migrants began making sweet cream butter at the Belle Springs Creamery. Dwight Eisenhower’s parents, David and Ida Stover Eisenhower, decided the cream might be sweeter in Denison, Texas. So they moved there, where Dwight was born in 1890. But the next year they all returned to Kansas.

That brings us back to the Belle Springs Creamery, where David went to work. So did Dwight, in 1906. The future president was an ice puller and, later, supervisor of the fireman and the ice puller. Then he went to the U.S. Military Academy and on to greater things before settling at the end of his life on a farm near Gettysburg.

— Jack Brubaker, retired from the LNP staff, writes “The Scribbler” column every Wednesday. He welcomes comments and contributions at scribblerlnp@gmail.com.