Evangelism in the province of Quebec began in the 1890s. For the next 40 or so years, the church focused on the city of Montreal. In 1935, an evangelistic couple, Philip Richard Goatcher, and his wife Daisy Sullivan, moved from Montreal to Northern Quebec, for economic reasons, and brought the faith they lived daily with them.

(Philip and Daisy Goatcher were the parents of 99 year old Hazel Goatcher Hibbard, and grandparents of Vern, Phyllis, and Murray Hibbard.)

Daisy Sullivan was born on August 28th, 1884 in London England; and Philip Goatcher, was born 5 years later, on October 11th, 1889 in Sussex England. She immigrated to Quebec in her mid-teens at the invitation of a cousin, Emily Tampling, who lived near Cowansville Quebec. Arriving in Canada, Daisy worked as a housekeeper for 3 years, until her marriage to Philip.

Philip’s father died at a young age, and Philip’s mother struggled to provide for her family. Her sister, Hannah and her husband Charles Drake, who were farmers in Quebec, agreed to have 8 year old Philip live with them.

Philip boarded a passenger ship and crossed the Atlantic, by himself. He was only (8) years old!

In time, Daisy and Philip met and began courting. On August 15th, 1912, Emily Tampling’s parlour became the wedding chapel for Philip and Daisy’s marriage. That evening the young couple rode the train from Cowansville to Montreal. The very next day, the Goatchers boarded a Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) passenger train for Regina, Saskatchewan.

Philip began working in the repair facilities for the CPR as a “wiper”. His job entailed cleaning and “wiping” down the locomotives. At that time, the locomotives were coal fired and steam driven. Black soot had to be cleaned off along with the dust and grime from travelling along the rails. Philip’s pay was 15 cents an hour which was too low to fund family expenses. Daisy secured a $5.00 a week job to help with expenses.

When harvest began, Phillip left his railway job and headed to the fields to “stook” grain for $3.00 a day. Later he was employed at a lumber yard. In 1913, their first child, Margaret was born. Daisy described their home,

“We had built a new little shack as our old one was too was only two rooms but so much warmer than the old four room shack we had been living in.

Philip’s aunt and uncle in Quebec were aging and offered Philip and Daisy the opportunity to manage the farm. When they arrived in Quebec, Philip’s aunt was not pleased when she found out they were expecting their 2nd child. The pregnancy meant Daisy was unable to do as many of the chores as was expected.

In 1915, the Goatcher’s 2nd child, a girl, Hazel was born. Hazel Goatcher later married Ralph Hibbard. In 2014, at the age of 99, Hazel is a member of the Waterloo church of Christ in Ontario.

The Drakes sold their farm. Philip worked on another farm for a short period of time, before they returned to Saskatchewan, and settled in Hodgeville, a small community southeast of Swift Current for a short period of time.

The Goatchers moved to Alberta where Philip found a homestead for the family. Daisy recalled, “It was a nice little house.” One of their neighbours, who lived about 15 minutes away in the sparsely populated area, warned Daisy not to leave the children outside by themselves ...“coyotes might come after them.” The neighbour was serious!

Philip worked full-time on a farm near Calgary and did not stay at home. Daisy shared a story about his first visit return after being away for a period of time:

“Philip used to come home once in a while. I remember the first time he came home, he knocked on the door to surprise me, well when I opened the door and saw him I just tumbled into his arms and cried. I was so happy to see him. It was quite lonesome when he was gone so far away.”

Things did not go as smoothly as they had hoped in Alberta, and the Goatchers returned to Regina Saskatchewan. They still owned a house in Regina, which upon their arrival, Daisy remembered, “When we got there our house had all broken down. The back part had all been pulled apart and it was open to the elements."

Philip gained employment at the railway for a second time, and was able to do some repairs on the house.

While the Goatchers lived in Regina, a church of Christ evangelist who was born and raised in the Meaford, Ontario area arrived in Regina to hold meetings. His name was Hugh Agnew “H.A.” Rogers and he became the most effective “acapella” churches of Christ evangelist in Western Canada, during the pioneering era. He planted at least 12 churches and baptized hundreds.

J.C. Bailey in his 1st biography wrote:

“Brother H.A. Rogers baptized a Philip Goatcher and his wife in the first meeting he held in Regina. Brother Goatcher had a zeal to teach others. He had an old aunt in Montreal that he felt he could teach her the truth if we went back there, so he went to Montreal. He was not successful in his mission."

In 1930, the Goatchers had 5 children. Because of Philip’s railway job, they were able to ride for free back to Montreal. Upon their return to Montreal, the Goatchers decided to stay.

Philip became a milk route salesman for about 3 years. The time period was the Great Depression, and many of Philip’s customers struggled to pay their bills, including those for milk. Despite some success at bringing the bills up to date, he lost his job around 1932 and could not find work for 3 years.

While in Montreal, the Goatchers were active members of the Montreal church of Christ. Dr. Philip Pratley, one of Canada’s finest bridge engineers, (he designed major bridges in Halifax, Montreal, Sarnia, Windsor and Vancouver), was the main leader of the Montreal church.

Hazel Goatcher, Philip and Daisy’s 2nd daughter, (Mrs. Ralph Hibbard), was Philip’s assistant with the Sunday School program, and years later, Reuben Butchart, a Disciple of Christ evangelist and historian wrote the following about Hazel’s work in his book, “History of the Disciples of Christ in Canada Since 1830:"

“The East end congregation has been able to magnify its Bible school work, which is so necessary to growth and acceptance by a community.”...”Words of praise are due also to Miss Hazel Goatcher, secretary of the school and ‘right hand man’ to Brother Pratley.”

The Quebec government opened Northwestern Quebec for development in the area around Noranda, Quebec. A major gold mine and refinery was constructed at Noranda. To assist families who were unable to find employment, the government offered to settle them in the north, and the men would build log and frame homes in the area. The government supplied the settlers with groceries including meat.

Philip Goatcher applied for a position and rode the train north from Montreal to Noranda in September 1935. A few months later, Daisy arrived in Noranda on December 18th, 1935.

The Goatcher’s property was in Farmborough, (about 30 kilometers from Noranda). Jim Goatcher, a son of Daisy and Philip, began working for Noranda Mine,s and was successful in gaining employment for his father in the powerhouse. It was probably Philip’s best paying job in his life.

Philip and Daisy brought their faith, and established the “Farmborough church of Christ” in their home. It was the first congregation in the province of Quebec, outside of Montreal. They invited J.C. Bailey to hold a meeting at Farmborough. The famous preacher recalled,

“The people flocked to hear the gospel. By the fifth night I thought I had taught enough to extend the invitation...the people, at least some of them, did not understand the ‘orthodox’ way to do it (Pld-respond to the invitation). They did not wait for the invitation song to start, 5 of them just walked to the front."

“In all there were 14 that rendered obedience to the gospel.” “Brother Goatcher, bless his memory, was so overwhelmed that he broke down and cried.”

Shortly after J.C.’s visit, his father and mother, Tom and Edith (Cann) Bailey moved from Thessalon where they had labored from 1913 to 1940; to Farmborough to work with the Goatchers. They spent about 2 years in Quebec. During the Baileys sojourn in Farmborough, plans were made to construct a meeting house, but this goal was never achieved.

On October 23, 1944, Philip Goatcher died at the age of 55 years old.

Tom Bailey described the last time he saw Philip in an obit he wrote,
“I can remember clearly the last time we saw Brother Goatcher. It was the day we left Noranda. We looked back and he was standing in the doorway with his pleasant smile, but tears were glistening in his eyes.”

The Farmborough church continued for a few more years.

Daisy (Sullivan) Goatcher died in Sarnia, Ontario on October 2, 1970.

The following is Philip Goatcher’s will:

“If I should die before my wife; she gets the savings of my life.”
“No matter what these assets be, cash, bonds, war savings, property-
“If latter is a nuisance sore, Sell it and of cash have more.”
“This includes my farm and shack, and stamp collection, but alack!”
“They are in such poor state they’ll scarcely lure her a new mate.”
“I hope she’ll get the best price ever, I guess she will as she’s quite clever.”
“If she is gone, just children left, and they are of their Ma hereft,”
“They each and all get equal share of anything there is to spare.”
“If any die before I do, then same thing goes though only two.”
“If only one survives her dad, she’s welcome to just all he had.”

The Farmborough church of Christ historically was the first attempt at planting a church of Christ outside the city of Montreal. In 1964 the Quebec City church was planted by Mr. and Mrs. Owen Aiken. Other congregations have been established since then outside Montreal.

Philip and Daisy's youngest daughter, Doris (Goatcher) North is a member of the Oshawa church of Christ. She and Hazel (Goatcher) Hibbard are the surviving children of Philip and Daisy.

Vern and Marg (Hotchkiss) Hibbard are active members of the Thessalon church of Christ.

Phyllis Hibbard is an active member of the Peteborough church of Christ.

Murray Hibbard is an active member of the Waterloo church of Christ.
Thank you to Murray Hibbard who provided the picture of his grandparents.

Facebook page called Canadian Churches of Christ Historical Society
Canadian Churches of Christ Historical Society

Researched, edited and written by Paul Linn Dale
/WebMaster: David KC COLE