Gen: Autobiography of Daisy nee Sullivan Goatcher (66.html)

Daisy nee Sullivan Goatcher
Daisy nee Sullivan Goatcher
Philip Goatcher c1909
Philip Goatcher c1909

Autobiography - Daisy nee SULLIVAN GOATCHER (1884-1970)

[Edit Notes by David KC COLE are in square braces]

[The original autobiography is stored in the archives of David KC COLE with the title "AutoBio_DSullivan.txt"]

My earliest recollections were when my mother died when I was nearly nine years old. I had a half-brother who was three when my mother died. My stepfather [Mr. Tom TAMPLING] was a cab owner and driver. He used to leave us at home when he was driving his cab. I used to have to take Tom [my half- brother] to school and then give him something to eat at noon and at supper time. It mostly was bread and what we call[ed] dripping, which was fat from the roast of meat that we had each Sunday, when my father cooked it for us. I know he used to cook a meal for us during the week but we chiefly lived on bread and dripping.

After a few months he took us to live at Bandley Heath with his bed-ridden sister who had a daughter who lived with her and took care of her. I or rather we had a mile to walk to school, we took our lunch, and I remember my [half-]brother did not like the currant turnovers, so he gave me his as well as my own.

When I was 14 years old my dad [my stepfather, Mr. Tom Tampling] came and took us back to London, he had married again [To Rose ?] and there was a little girl and a boy. My stepmother [Rose] and I did not get along well, so I went to service, coming home to visit occasionally. One time a cousin [Jack CHAPMAN] from Canada came to visit us and I met him and he suggested I go to Canada. So I saved my money ready to go. Then I had to have an operation in hospital and when I was out again, my stepmother had to go in and I went home and looked after the home and spent the money I had saved, on the home.

When she was home again I went to work again, but my cousin in Canada offered to pay my fare, so I accepted and it was 30 dollars steerage. it took a week to come over on the boat to [the province of] Quebec. I was told to get on the train to Montreal[, QC] and they took us to an office for employing servants. I told them I was going to my cousins at Iron Hill. The man said if I ever needed work to let him know. So then I went on the train to Iron Hill (West Sheffield) the name of the station [in the Eastern Townships, near Cowansville, QC] . When I got off the train I couldn't help thinking how lovely the place seemed. I had lived in London[, England] so much. There were mountains around us [in West Sheffield]. My cousin was not there to meet me, but a young lad who took the mail from the train offered to take me to my cousin, Mr. J. Chapman. Well it was getting dark when we arrived and I was sure scared the light would go out before we got there, as I could see the log cabin a long time before we got to the door. Anyway when we got there my cousin Emily was up cooking. I believe the boys were all in bed, she had 4 boys from 14 yrs [years]. down to 6 yrs [years]. They got up and were very interested in this girl cousin who had come from England. [Information provided to me (David Cole) was 'Emily TAMPLING was the daughter of Tom TAMPLING. Emily's mother was Rose, the second wife of Tom TAMPLING. Emily was 'almost' a step- sister of Daisy's, because her father was Daisy's stepfather. Jack CHAPMAN was married to Emily TAMPLING, so he is also not a proper cousin of Daisy's.' But Emily's age makes this impossible. I believe that Emily is a niece of Daisy's stepfather, Tom Tampling. Jack and Emily CHAPMAN were recorded in the 1901 Canada census.]

I got work at a summer boarding house at a lakeside. Then after the season was over, one day at my cousins log cabin, a two seated buggy (I forget what they really called them in those days). It took two horses to pull it. Well, a lady came from Cowansville to see if I would come and work for her. I had promised another lady I would go and see her the day we went to the fair. Mrs. Cotton offered me 3 1/2 dollars a week. So after I had seen the first lady and told her Mrs. Cotton had offered me 31/2 dollars, she said "Oh! I couldn't possibly give as much as that [. I could give you] only 2.00 a week." So in the end I went to Mrs. Cotton's and stayed there [in Mississiquoi near Cowansville, QC] till I got married, 3 years later. [Mrs Cotton was the wife of Dr. Cotton.] I was married August 15th 1912 in my cousins' parlour, and in the evening we took the train from Cowansville [QC] to Montreal [QC, Canada] where we stayed at a friend's home overnight.

The next day we took the Harvester Excursion to Regina [,SK] ($12.00 return if we worked for 3 months) where my husband expected to get [work] on the C.P.R. and he did. But it was such low wages for a wiper [i.e. an engine wiper], 15 cents an hour in the roundhouse, which we found we could not live on. I meanwhile had gotten day work $5.00 a week. So as we were using up our bit of savings to live on. Philip quit the railroad and went out on the prairie stooking [wheat into sheaves] at $3.00 a day. I meanwhile was feeling very sick so asked him to come back, which he did and I had to quit working as our first little girl [,Margaret] was on its way. He got work at one place and another,and one place he worked at, the man asked him how a young man like he was out of work. So he told him and when he was through with that foreman, he got on working at a lumber company for $65.00 a month. Our little girl was born June 12 , 1913. We had built a new little shack as our old one was so cold [.] [and] I came from the hospital with Margaret to it. It was only two rooms but so much warmer than the old four roomed shack we had been living in. Soon after Margaret was born, Philip's uncle [Charles DRAKE] and aunt wrote to us asking us to go back East and [asked] Philip to run the farm as uncle was sick. So we said "Yes we would if they sent us the fare" which they did. Margaret was walking by this time, but when we got back Aunt Mary [the wife of Charles DRAKE] was so disappointed that I was again expecting as she thought I would be able to help on the farm. After Hazel was born, uncle decided to sell the farm and when he did Philip got work on a farm at $30.00 a month with rooms for us to live in. After a while Philip decided to go back west and borrowed the money for our transportation from a gentleman farmer as uncle [Charles DRAKE] would not lend us the fare.

We got back west and worked for a farmer [named Fred] at Hodgeville [, Saskatchewan] for a year at $300.00 per year. At the end of that year another young farmer asked us to work for him at $500.00 per year, which we did. He used to go off for trips leaving Philip to run the farm. At harvesting time when the threshers came we had to feed them while on the place: 5 meals a day. Practically, breakfast at 5:30 am Lunch at 10:00 am Dinner at 12:00 Lunch at 3:00 pm Supper at 6:00 pm. I had to bake all the bread, pies, cook meat and vegetables and make cakes also make sandwiches and cakes for lunches for 16 men. It sure was a busy time but the three brothers used to help me with the dishes. We were expecting our fourth child [, Arthur,] at this time, so it was sure a trying spell.

We stayed with Fred a year and then Philip thought he would like to go and homestead. So we read, in a paper, of land to be had in Alberta, So Philip decided we would go to Rocky Mountain House but found when we got there, the land within 60 miles of a railroad was being held for soldiers. So Philip heard, from a man in the hotel, of a farm to be sold so he went out to see it. It was within 12 miles of the town, so he decided we'd buy it, putting down what cash we had and paying $50.00 a month till only the mortgage was owing. We put down the $100.00 and then bought a cookstove, a few dishes and groceries. I asked Philip about beds, chairs, table, he said "Oh! we'll make bunk beds" [, and that] there was some straw in the barn that we could make mattresses of. So I bought some unbleached cotton and made two mattress covers to put the straw in,while in the hotel. Then when the papers were all signed, Philip hired a buggy and horse and took us out the 15 miles. We had quite a time getting there, as it was in April and the roads were bad, quite a bit was cordroyed and the water would come up over the top when we went over.Anyway at last we got there, my eldest little girl [, Margie,] was very concerned. "Were we ever going to get there?" It was a nice little house 3 rooms. Philip made a room upstairs after a while for the children. After Philip had got a little wood ready for me, he left me there with the three children under 6 years [old]. A neighbour told me I would have to watch the children as coyotes might come after them. So I used to spend a lot of time watching out of the door or window to see they were safe. It was dreadfully lonesome as I couldn't see a house at all, the nearest one was about 15 minutes walk away. Philip got work on a farm south, near Calgary [AB], at $65.00 a month. He used to send $50.00 to the farm agents and then keep a few dollars for his laundry, then send about $11.00. We lived very carefully, used to get one quart of milk from the next farmer. Philip had brought a dozen hens before he left us so we would have a few eggs to eat. They were Black Minncas and they sure did lay but would not set, so I exchanged two of them with the farmer for Red Hens which were wanting to set. Well they set all right but when the little chicks arrived the mothers were so alive with lice that the poor little chicks just died.

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. Well we got along pretty well. One time when Philip came to visit, he showed me how to use the shot-gun. I sure was scared, but he said "Well, if you did not have any eggs and you could shoot, you might get a Spruce Hen."Which I did but not the first shot. I did not like the taste of the Spruce Hen, but we all thought it better than no meat. You see we had no means of getting meat, just eggs we had mostly, unless we had someone get us a little meat from town. We did not have much money only about $11.00 for the whole month, and there were 4 of us to feed. We picked blueberries right near the house. I think I canned 100 quarts which we used in the winter for desserts. In the fall Philip came home and decided to cut trees and have a man hew ties which the railroad was paying 25 cents each. He had brought home a wagon and two horses which were not very good and were quite a trouble to Philip. Anyway he also brought home a pair of doe rabbits so we could raise rabbits. Which we did, but a disease took the baby rabbits and they all died. Philip used to take two loads of ties a day but what with paying the man and boarding him we did not make any money. Philip in the spring cleared more land and in the fall of that year we heard of a farmer who was having a sawmill and the farmers were to bring their logs and get paid in the fall. Philip thought it was a good project. So he got out logs, hauled them to the saw mill and was told to put his logs in a certain pile. Well whenever anyone came to the saw mill the owners would just go and take a log wherever the right size was. Which ended that when the time of paying was up there were no accounts kept and Philip found according to the saw mill owner he was owning him $60.00. So Philip was so disgusted that he decided to sell his stock but he couldn't sell the horses. So he let them roam wild and we went back to Regina North, Saskatchewan.

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. We rented a little two room house for a month. Philip got work on the railroad. When we were coming out of the railway station a man called to Philip and it was his brother William [William Noel GOATCHER]. He helped us to find a house and also helped us carry our luggage down the railroad track about1 1/2 miles. I used to go to auction sales to buy bits of furniture.Margaret and Hazel were going to school, but not till we had built up the back wall of the shack as we called them in those days. We stayed there till Philip was eligible to get free transportation for us all back east.

We then took the trip, 5 children and ourselves. [Daisy had exactly 5 children including Doris only after 1924.] When we visited Philip's mother, [SARAH Jane GOULTON, in Montreal], a friend of theirs suggested Philip stay and he would get him on a dairy route. Which he did. His mother loaned him $50.00 and we had $50.00 of our own to put down on a bond, and he had to make it up too $200.00 out of his weekly wages. He worked for the milk company, I think, 3 years. This was in the years of '31 to '35, when there was a lot of unemployed and one day the owner of the milk company called him into the office and asked him what he was going to do about the [customers'] back debts on the books. Philip said "I have just done what you told me, the customers paid for the milk they bought and about 25 cents a week off the back debts." Well, being as he would not let his bond money go against the debts, they told him they did not need him any more. The French Canadians that were working for the company, I believe, gave in their bond money.

Philip did not get any work for 3 years. We lived on the $200.00 bond money and about the time when things were really desperate, I used to work out by the day, he came home and asked me how would I like to go homesteading. The government were putting men on land near Noranda, who were building houses log and frame. So when I found I could take my furniture I said I'd go. So about September Philip went with some other men up to the land and I was left with the family till our house was built. I hated having to go and get the relief money each week. I remember the first week they deducted the money for Philip and the next week they deducted more and when I asked them why, they sent me away across Montreal, and when I asked them they said "You have a daughter working bringing in $10.00 per month." It all seemed so unreasonable.Anyway about the middle of December I went down to see if there was any word about us getting to Noranda before Christmas, and the agent said"How many are going?" I said "3 of us." So I then asked him when we would be going. He said "Oh about Sunday or Monday AM." This was on a Thursday and I had a six room house to pack. But I never said a word. I was so glad to be getting off relief. My eldest girl's boyfriend and my son Jim helped me pack. He was for throwing out my old collections of things that one collects thru the years. We got packed and the youngest about 10 years got a kitten to take with us.

I can't seem to remember about how we got on the train, but I do remember we had the kitten in a box but it got out as soon as we started. There were all kinds of cats and dogs on the train and you can imagine the smell and the fights of them on the train. Well we got there the next day, and then the government had sleighs to take us out to the land. That was on the 18th of December 1935. [In 1935, Daisy was 56 years old and Philip was 51.] We slept on the floor on mattresses of course, but the stairs leading upstairs were not made. Yet there were 3 rooms upstairs and 3 down. Philip and I in the spring made a cellar, he dug the soil and I carried it to put around trees in the front of the house. They are still there. [One tree was still there c1997.] I believe everyone envied us our trees as most of the places were cut down all around the house. We were able to get a bit tidy by Christmas Day. One of the neighbours had a party and invited us but it was quite a rowdy party and the men had somehow got liquor and would pass out, we did not stay very long. We started clearing as soon as the snow started to melt. Daily, Philip went working on building houses, then the roads had to be made, it was just like a trail when we first went there. We wore rubber boots the first year or so, as water used to lay on the footpaths. I never got to town as I could not walk far. Most elderly people used to stay on the land and the husbands go into town. As soon as the river thawed they used to go by boat which was much easier than walking 15 miles to town. The highway was not built for many years. When we first arrived, the government supplied us with groceries and some meat but after a few months when we got paid for our work done [at] 22 1/2 cents an hour, we bought our own. Our first year of planting a garden was a complete failure. I guess as the land had not been opened up. The growing season was always very short. The river did not thaw out till into April and of course the ground was just as slow. Our carrots were very small and potatoes froze sometimes 3 times before the frosts were over. The next year was a little better. Some more settlers came, things were some better and the government had different plans for them. The roads were getting better all the time. Many horses died on the hard work of making the roads. No machinery like is used nowadays. Some settlers just pulled out especially if they had never been on a farm and had to bake their own bread.

My son who had wanted to see the north country had come from high school with us, he tried to get work and did help on building the railroad bridge, but when that was finished, that was all he could get to do. Till one summer the Anglican minister asked Philip if I would go into Noranda and look after 3 men while the wife went on a holiday. So I walked 4miles to phone the lady and she asked me if I would work for her for15.00 a month. I said it would not pay me to leave my home less than25.00. In the end she agreed to pay me the 25.00 with which we put in some flour for the winter. It was while I was there the master asked about my family etc. He suggested [that my son] Jim could perhaps get into Noranda Mines as an apprentice. So when I got home I told Jim and he went to the mine, which is a big gold mine. He filled out papers and was told they would let him know. A year went by and one day he came home from the post office with a letter asking him to report. Well they took him on at 35 cents an hour. But he also got an I.C.S. course which was a great help. The wages was very low as he had to pay for his room and board at the "Finn Camp". The man who hired him asked him how he did in mathematics at high school. He said "I always made over 90%." THe man said why didn't you tell us. Jim said nobody asked me. Time went along and the war was on. Dad was meantime finding life very hard. So he asked Jim to ask his boss for a job, Jim rather laughed but he did and Philip got on working as a helper in the Power House. Jim was getting so he wanted to join up, all the young men were doing so. Well, he went to Montreal to try and get in the Air Force, then after the Army and lastly the Navy. The first two said he was underweight but the Navy took him.He was in training at Halifax, then in England. He was in the attacks in the Mediterranean and he got be an officer before the war was over.Meantime Philip had been in the Power House all this time. Jim and Tom,Doris' husband, both were married before they joined up. Tom could not go over-seas as his feet were not good. But he was kept at Montreal as an interpreter as he could speak French very well.

[On June12, 1943 their daughter, Marion, married Vic Cole, in Montreal and went on their honeymoon to Niagra Falls. Daisy and Philip accompanied them on their honeymoon.]

[In the summer of 1944,] Jim came home on a 6 weeks vacation and while he was home Philip had an operation for double hernia. He got through the operation all right but afterwards had a bad spell of a blood clot. Jim came for me to go to the hospital. He seemed to recover over that. Then he almost had pneumonia. He wanted to come home, so we asked the doctor and he said he would examine him Monday. Wednesday he came home in an ambulance. He was home nearly a week. The doctor said he could eat anything he liked and could do anything like getting up if he felt like it. [Around this time, Jim returned to Halifax.] Well, on the Sunday he had some visitors and Saturday he had gone to the bathroom and sat down in the living room for a minute. The next day after supper, I made him a nice dinner and asked him if he thought he could eat some apple pie. He said "Yes" and while I was making it, Peggie, my daughter-in-law, came with her little girl [,Sally]. Philip called so she went to him and washed my hands from the pastry, then went in. He said for me to get him off the bed, but I said I would lift him up. He said to put some water on his head, which I did but then he said "It's no use, lay me down". And then by this time the doctor came in but he had passed away [at the age of 55]. I could not believe it was true. We took him to Cowansville to be [buried in the United Church cemetery] near his Uncle and Aunt. The rest of the family were all living there [in Montreal] then except Peggie. She came with me when we took Philip down [to Cowansville to be buried]. Jim was wired at Halifax that dad had gone and he met me at the station. We then had to take the train to Cowansville, where he[,Philip,] had been brought up, when he had come from England at 7years. I met many old friends that day but we came back to Montreal in the evening.

I stayed with my daughter Hazel for nearly a month. Then a neighbour wrote and said that someone had stolen our radio and the shot-gun, so I decided to go back and sell most of the home except a few things to keep house in the summer months. It was very lonesome the first year, but after a year I got used to being without Philip. I spent the winters with Hazel for 7 years. Then she met her [future] husband [, Ralph HIBBARD] [.] While I was out west visiting Marion and Vic [ COLE] she wrote and said she was getting married [in 1951]. So I hurried back and we sold the things we could not use except I kept my bed, table, radio, chair and dishes and rented a nice big room with a Jewish family. I stayed there for 1 1/2 years I think [until around 1953. I took sick and Doris wrote and invited me to go and live with them so I did. I moved my bits of things up to Noranda. While living in Montreal folks had told me I should apply for the government pension for [persons aged] 65 years. So I did and got it for 5 years,then was eligible for [the] 70 year old pension. Tom Redmond, my son-in-law, was working as a Cage Tender at the mines. They [Tom and Doris] had 3 children.

While I was living with Hazel, Marion and Vic wrote and invited me to visit them in Buenos Aires, they could get me a free air trip. So I went down. It was my first air trip. It took about 4 days as we stayed at some place each night. We stopped at Trinidad which I thought was a lovely place. I liked the trip down very much and enjoyed my visit with Marion and Vic. I would not like to live there all the time but it sure was nice seeing all the different places and ways of the people. I used to go into the city to church every Sunday. I remember one time Marion said "Now you know how to ask for the ticket, Mum." You see you had to speak Spanish. Well I got to the station and offered a large size bill as I wanted change for the church collection. Well the station clerk said something to me in Spanish. I repeated the place I was going to. He pushed the money back and at last I caught on. He had not got change, so I gave him smaller money. The people in Buenos Aires seem quite different to Canadians. The children all wear white uniforms to school.I often wondered how the poor mothers got them washed and dried in the winter, which is quite often very damp and wet in the forenoon. We left to come home in July. Victor stayed awhile after we left, to sell the furniture. We had a good trip home, the plane hit an air pocket and dropped quite a few feet. Marion and [her son ] David both were sick to their stomach as also were many of the passengers. I wasn't but it made my skin seem all tight, especially my face. We stayed in New York, then onto Montreal. We went to Church of Christ in the a.m. and at night, when I met brethren up from Seary, Arkansas, who knew Mrs. McKerlie. After we got back we stayed with Hazel awhile then to Noranda for Marion to wait till Vic came from Argentina. They then returned to Moose Jaw, his hometown, where he became a partner in a[n auto] repair parts store, and is still with his boy-hood friend [Earl NANT] , which they have made into a good store, besides other stores.

I then lived with [my daughter] Hazel for 7 years, until Hazel got married to a brother in the church. She [now] has two sons and one girl. When Hazel got married at Sarnia, I rented a room with a Jewish family, stayed with them 1 1/2 years, then I sort of took sick and Doris suggested I live with them in Noranda, where I used to live on the farm in the summer time. I lived with Dot [Doris] and husband [Tom REDMOND] till he died suddenly [in 1959]. I went and spent a time with Margaret, then on to Hazel's. Since then, I spend time in each of their homes. [My son] Jim and Peggie live at Baie Commeau [, QC], their oldest girl [Sally] was married Mar 31, 1962, their little girl was born in December named Laura. After the wedding I spent two weeks with [my son,] Jim and [his wife] Peggie, had a very nice time. Peggie's mother died suddenly in 1962. I came [to Moose Jaw, SK] to visit [my daughter,] Marion and Vic [COLE] in December 1962 and expect to go to [my daughter] Margaret's [in St. Eustache, QC] for a visit then stay for [her daughter] Edith's wedding August 10, [1963] then back to Ontario in time for Hazel's (Doris' daughter's) wedding on August17 [,1963]. I have had my arthritis very bad this year and it still persists. [The] Doctor has told me to reduce [my weight], which I have [already] got down 10 lbs. But that is not enough yet.

[Daisy was always willing to play games with her grandchildren, teaching many of them how to play chess and other games as well. She was known to her grandchildren as "Granny Goatcher". She attended David COLE's marriage to Yvette RICHARD in Jonquiere, Quebec in 1966. Daisy died in1970 while staying with her daughter Hazel [nee GOATCHER, HIBBARD] in Sarnia, ON, Canada.]

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Date Started: 2015 C Mar 20
Date Updated: 2016 H Aug 14