APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Champaign County; the Hon.
CHARLES E. KELLER, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE FULTON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
The defendants, Charles Archie Thompson and Maxine Thompson, husband and wife, prosecute this appeal from a judgment in ejectment by the circuit court of Champaign County, entered on a motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff, Rosa M. Thompson, is the mother of the defendant Charles Archie Thompson.
The complaint filed on November 24, 1950, alleged that the plaintiff was the owner of the fee title to the premises in controversy; that she inherited the property from her husband on April 6, 1950; that the defendants wrongfully entered into possession on the date of her husband's death, namely, April 6, 1950; that, at the time of the commencement of the suit, the defendants unlawfully withheld possession thereof.
The defendants filed an answer to the complaint in ejectment denying all of the material allegations thereof.
On January 29, 1950, the plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment, attaching thereto her personal affidavit setting forth the death of her husband, Joseph L. Thompson on April 6, 1950; that at the time of his death, her husband was the owner of a parcel of real estate in Urbana, Illinois, which included the premises in controversy; that by virtue of her husband's decease, and under the terms of his last will and testament, she became seized in fee-simple title, by mesne conveyances from the United States Government, to all of said real estate and now claims full title and the right of possession to the same; that while so possessed, the defendants, on April 6, 1950, entered into and upon the said premises and now unlawfully withhold possession of the same. She prayed for judgment and for a writ of assistance against the defendants.
The defendants filed an affidavit and an amended answer in opposition to the motion and affidavit for summary judgment, setting forth verbatim a letter from defendant Thompson's father, which reads as follows:
"I have been thinking of building a small shack to rent on the back end of my home lot. If you get out of work and come back here we can build it this win. . . You can have it rent free and call it your own if you want to because my years of usefulness are soon going to be over and if you lived there you could take over my work and get paid for it. As far as Rex coming here and going to school this winter it is all right with me but Mother is the one who will have the extra work as long as she is well that will be all right but she will not be well all winter.
"I think you all will be just as well of in Urb as Chi. There is just as many jobs here as there are there in proportion to the population.
"Let me hear from you soon.
The joint affidavit of the defendants further stated that shortly after the receipt of said letter they moved to the city of Urbana; that he was a carpenter skilled in the business of building and repairing structures; that they moved into the small three-room house in the rear of the father's lot, and lived there for more than six years; that they never paid any rent for the use of same; that the son built an additional room upon the house; made lasting and valuable improvements thereon, and treated the property as their own. The affidavit contained a long detailed list of improvements made upon the premises by defendant Thompson and services performed in behalf of his father pursuant to an alleged oral agreement, and asserted they were the rightful owners of the premises, or that they have a right to live in the same so long as they desire.
On hearing, the court took the case under advisement and later found in favor of the plaintiff's ...