Letitia Webb

From Hotels of Ballarat
Letitia Sophia Webb
Born c.1861
Died 1930
St. Kilda, Victoria
Occupation Hotel owner
Years active 1908
Known for Forest Home Hotel
Home town Yendon
Spouse(s) Never married

Letitia Sophia Webb owned a hotel at Yendon, Victoria, <1908>.

History[edit | edit source]

Letitia Webb was born c. 1861, the daughter of Thomas Francis Webb and Elizabeth Icombe.[1]

Her parents operated the Forest Home Hotel at Yendon.

Letitia took an active interest in the community as shown by this report from November 1898:

DANCES. Miss L. S. Webb, of Yendon, who is always to the fore in local charitable movements, is arranging for a ball in the Mechanics’ Hall, Yendon, on Boxing Night, in aid of the Ballarat Hospital.[2]

Sadly, for a number of reasons, the ball was not successful:

The annual ball in aid of the Ballarat Hospital, arranged by Miss L. S. Webb, took place in the Yendon Hall on Boxing night, but was not such a success this year as last, only twenty-eight couples being present. This was due to a few of the residents arranging for a hall, which was held three nights before the Hospital ball, and the death of a very old and esteemed resident on Christmas night also prevented a good number from being present. Had it been practicable the ball would have been postponed.[3]

She wrote an angry, lengthy letter to the Ballarat Star in February 1906, concerning allegations about the running of the annual race meeting at Yendon. The letter was directed to a Mr. Brown, licensee of the Railway Hotel, an in it she mentions her father has retired from the Forest Home Hotel:

"... It is from a business joint of view that the races have been removed, and not that the course was unsafe to run on. Even it it had been cultivated the races could not have been held in the Park paddock, as this stubble paddock of Mr Pierce's immediately opposite the Railway Hotel, of which Mr Brown is licensee. I may in form him that my father retired from business many years back, and takes no part in it. He would not have left the meeting if he had not been so unfairly treated by the promoters..."[4]

In May 1907, Webb unsuccessfully launched a legal action of the estate of her fiancé, William Graham:

MARRIAGE AND MONEY.LADY'S UNSUCCESSFUL CLAIM. MELBOURNE, Friday. — An action was brought in the First Civil Court to-day, before Mr. Justice a'Beckett, by Letitia Sophia Webb of Yendon, spinster, against the executors of the will of William Graham, deceased. The statement of claim set out that in March, 1906, plaintiff and William Graham agreed verbally that in consideration of plaintiff marrying Graham he should .pay to her the sum of £2000 and a further sum of £2 10s per week during her life, and further that he should forthwith transfer to her 300 shares in the Llanberris Mining Company. On April 17, 1906, William Graham died without having performed the agreement or any part of it. Defendants refused to be bound by or to perform the agreement. Plaintiff therefore claimed £3500 as damages. Defendants denied the agreement, and said the alleged promise by Graham to pay the sums named, or any of them, was a statement of a future intention only by Graham in the event of marriage. Plaintiff in evidence stated that she first met Graham at a restaurant at Ballarat, and afterwards he made frequent appointments with liter. She was 47 years of age, and lived with a sister who kept an hotel at Yendon. Graham told her lie had been twice married, but both wives had died. He was very lonely, and eventually asked plaintiff to marry him. She refused to give an answer, as she did not care for him as she might have for a younger man. He pressed her, and eventually promised that if she would accept him he would give her £2000 in cash and £2 10s per week for life, and transfer 300 shares to her. She agreed to marry him, and he gave her an engagement ring. They arranged to meet at a solicitor's on April 11 to have the matter legally fixed, and the marriage day was fixed for April 25. She kept the appointment at the solicitor's, but Graham did not. She subsequently learned that he had been taken ill. She never saw him again, as he died on April 17. His Honor said he was satisfied on the evidence given by plaintiff that deceased had intended to make an Immediate gift of £2000 to her, and make a further settlement. However, plaintiff had brought an action based on a dry legal claim that could not be sustained in the circumstances. Defendants should not press, for costs. The latter refused to waive any rights, and his Honor then dismissed the case, with costs against plaintiff.[5]

When the Forest Home Hotel license was reviewed in May 1908 by the Licenses Reduction Board, Letitia is named as the owner, and her sister, Charlotte Webb (incorrectly reported as Charles) was named as publican:

FOREST HOME HOTEL, YENDON. Charles Webb is licensee, and Letitia Webb the owner. Inspector Balchin said the hotel was constructed of brick; was in fair repair and well conducted, but was not required, there being already so many hotels in the Buninyong licensing district. Constable Hoare supported this statement; while evidence was given on behalf of the house by several witnesses. Decision was reserved.[6]

Letitia left the district in 1921, and the property was sold in June:

YENDON. SALE OF FARM. Messrs. S. O. Valentine and Co. having sold the Misses Webb’s farm at Yendon to Mr W. Nattrass, of Ouyen, held a most successful clearing sale on the farm on Thursday last. Every lot submitted elicited the keenest competition from one of the largest crowds ever seen at a Yendon sale, and a complete clearance was effected at high values, dry cows selling up to £l7/15/.[7]

Letitia died in St. Kilda in 1930.[1]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Australian Death Index, Victoria, 1930, Ref. No. 7512
  2. 1898 'DANCES.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 26 November, p. 6. , viewed 14 Mar 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article215234289
  3. 1898 'YENDON.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 29 December, p. 1. , viewed 14 Mar 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article215235930
  4. 1906 'CORRESPONDENCE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 15 February, p. 4. , viewed 14 Mar 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article209227009
  5. 1907 'MARRIAGE AND MONEY.', The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1883 - 1930), 18 May, p. 10. , viewed 13 Mar 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article238057788
  6. 1908 'LICENCES REDUCTION BOARD.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 2 May, p. 17. , viewed 13 Mar 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article197339156
  7. 1921 'YENDON.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 25 June, p. 9. , viewed 14 Mar 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article211967196

External links[edit | edit source]