McGraw’s Iola roots run deep

Register City Editor

Judy McGraw and her granddaughter, Mea De LaTorre

Judy McGraw, one of the marshals for this year’s Farm-City Days celebration, has historic ties to Iola that go back to before the town was founded. She is a one-quarter owner of the farm her great-grandfather, Edward Cain, homesteaded just north of Deer Creek in the spring of 1858.
After securing the farm with a land warrant, Cain cleared and fenced his property. He purchased a team of oxen and had enough money in reserve to sustain himself through the first winter. He then broke out prairie grass for cropland in the spring of 1859, with the assistance of a hired hand whom he paid $2.50 an acre.
When the Civil War broke out, Cain enlisted in the Union Army, joining Company F of the 8th Kansas Voluntary Infantry. He served on the frontier until March 1863 when his regiment was ordered east. Cain participated in the Battle of Chickamauga and at Missionary Ridge, where he was wounded. He later fought in the Atlanta campaign and at Lovejoy Station before being discharged in December 1864.
Back on his homestead three miles north of Iola, Cain improved and cultivated his farm, which he eventually enlarged to half a section. For many years Cain was a prominent shipper of livestock from Iola yards.
Cain was born in Coshocton County, Ohio, Oct. 3, 1834. Among his children was Sadie, who married Bert Wiggins. They were McGraw’s grandparents.

LEONARD Wiggins, son of Bert and Sadie, was McGraw’s father.
He, her grandfather, Bert, and an uncle, Edward Wiggins, were Iola merchants, opening an Allis-Chalmers dealership at 214 N. Jefferson in 1945. A plaque at center top of the building bears the Wiggins name.
McGraw hasn’t strayed, nor have her children.
She and Duane McGraw lived in Welda the first 10 years of their marriage, when he worked at Garnett Greenhouse. In 1976, they purchased DandyLion Flower Shop in the first block of West Jackson and five years later moved to 5 N. Jefferson where Duane’s Flowers has been since.
The flower shop is a pillar of the Iola business community and the McGraws are avid supporters of Iola, particularly through their involvement with the Iola Area Chamber of Commerce and its promotion of the city.
“We’ve never had any inclination to go elsewhere,” McGraw said, a philosophy embraced by her children, son, Kortney, and daughter, Kristina, also lifelong Iolans.
“Kristina spent a year in Arizona after graduating from high school, but she decided this is where she wanted to live.”
Kristina works with her parents in the flower shop. She and her husband, Robert DeLaTorre, have four children, Mea, 9, Drake, 5, and twins Ean and Kamry, 1. Kortney and his wife, Rhonda, have three children, Shane Stuart, 10, Karson, 8, and Dallyn, 4. Kortney works for Southern Star Gas at Welda.
McGraw is the youngest of four siblings, who share property rights to the original Cain homestead. Her sisters are Phyllis Lueker, Iola, and Betty Haywood, Tulsa. A brother, Don Wiggins, died two years ago.