Trove Tuesday

Trove Tuesday – Action against a son-in-law

Since Trove is not available this week due to the upgrade to Trove 7, I decided to go through my files, to see if I have an article that I haven’t yet shared on my blog.  The article I am going to share is for my ex-husband’s 3x great grandmother, Elizabeth Laver nee Male.

Action against a son-in-law
ACTION AGAINST A SON-IN-LAW. (1897, August 11). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 6. Retrieved April 19, 2015, from



A claim by Elizabeth Laver, of Bath-street, St. Kilda, an old lady, aged 79, against her son-in-law, Charles William
Collis, builder, of Market-street, St. Kilda, for £594, money lent by plaintiff to defendant, came on trial before Mr. Justice Hood in the Supreme Court yesterday. 
  The defence was that as to £24 of the sum claimed the defendant admitted the loan, but he alleged that he had repaid it. As to the balance of £570, he denied that the plaintiff ever lent it to him. On the contrary, defendant alleged that the £570 was a gift from plaintiff to defendant’s wife, and if the defendant ever received it from the plaintiff he did so at plaintiff’s request for the purpose of delivering it to his wife.
  Various members of the family were called on both sides to relate conversations in respect to the transactions in dispute, and numerous letters and other documents were put in evidence.
  Mr. Justice Hood, in giving judgment, said that all the probabilities and the documents were in favour of the plaintiff. The question was whether the large sum of £570 was a gift or a loan. The defendant’s view was that the plaintiff, who was a woman in comparatively poor circumstances, and unable to earn her living, depending on the interest from her money, deliberately divested herself of more than a third of the money for which she was get-
ting interest. That was an improbability to start with. It was true people did make gifts without a will, but they did not, as a rule, divest themselves of more than a third of their property to pay to a single daughter. His Honour thought that the conversations alleged to have taken place were absurd, and he did not understand why, if the money was a gift, the defendant signed a receipt. That was explained by the extraordinary supposition that the man who got the money was bound to give a receipt, as otherwise someone might suspect he had stolen it. There would be judgment for the plaintiff for the full amount claimed, with costs.
  Mr. Eagleson (instructed by Messrs Brown and McCulloch) appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr. McArthur (instructed by Mr. Morgan) for the defendant.

Elizabeth Male was christened 24 May 1818 at Kingsbury Episcopi, Somerset, England.  Her parents were Robert Male and Hannah Isaac.  Elizabeth married George Laver on 7 July 1840 at Kingsbury Episcopi, and they had 4 children in England.  Their youngest daughter, Louisa, was born in 1846 at Kingsbury Episcopi.   The family migrated to Australia in 1853.

In 1864, Louisa married Henry George Wagland.  Henry died in 1875, and Louisa then married Charles William Collis.

Elizabeth was to die one month after this article, on 22 September 1897.  Her husband George had died 10 August 1885, and is also buried at the St Kilda Cemetery.