New Brunswick History and Other Stuff

How Geary Became Known as Geary

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I came across the following while researching for another blog post. It is from “Additions and Corrections to Monographs on the Place-Nomenclature, Cartography, Historic Sites, Boundaries and Settlement-Origins of the Province of New Brunswick”, 1906, by W.F. Ganong, which is not in copyright:

“Geary – I have at length been able to determine the origin of this name. The earliest use of the word I have found is in the Land Memorials of 1811, where it is called New Gary, though under 1807 it appears to be mentioned as a ‘new settlement back of French Lake’. Mr. Thos. E. Smith, of Geary, tells me the name was suggested by his grandmother, his grandfather, Samuel Smith, being the first settler there. They came to New Brunswick from the United States as Loyalists, 2nd remained for a time at Niagara, then locally pronounced ‘Niagary’. Later they came to New Brunswick, and in settling here gave the name New Niagary to the new settlement, which name became changed to New Gary, and finally the New was dropped, and it became Gary or Geary. The same explanation has been given me by Mr. Leslie Carr, of French Lake. This tradition is finely confirmed by a mention of the settlement I have found in the Royal Gazette for Apr. 14, 1818, which calls it New Niagara, and I have no question the explanation is correct. It appears as Geary in 1818 in a MS. Journal of C. Campbell.”

These are interesting details, but the finding is not new. A web page from the Archives in Fredericton at states that Geary is:

“Located 9.27 km S of Oromocto: Burton Parish: Sunbury County: settled in 1810 by Carrs and Smiths from Rhode Island and Niagara in Upper Canada (Ontario), who named the settlement New Niagara, pronounced “Ni-a-ga-ree” from which the name Geary evolved: PO Geary 1852-1959: in 1866 Geary was a farming community with approximately 40 resident families, including 6 Boone, 13 Carr and 9 Smith families: in 1871 Geary and the surrounding district had a population of 200: in 1898 Geary had 1 post office and a population of 100: included Woodside”.

The same explanation as to how Geary got its name can be found at This site was compiled by school children who did a fine job of listing early references to both New Niagara and Geary.


Written by johnwood1946

November 9, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

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