Geary Ranch celebrates 135 years

2003-10-02T00:00:00Z Geary Ranch celebrates 135 yearsBy Patricia B. Geary - Geary Brothers Ranch Inc. The Prairie Star

HELMVILLE (MFU) - John Geary, educated in Ireland, started out with an original 160 acres in Montana in 1867.

His modest beginning through purchase of a ranch grew to 6,647 acres on lands served by Nevada Creek, Nevada Dam and canal water rights filed in 1870.

This cattle and hay operation is about 50 miles northwest of Deer Lodge in the Garnet Mountain Range and partially borders the community of Helmville.

The North Fork of the Blackfoot River runs adjacent to pasture land on the ranch.

The Diamond G brand through the years has progressed from the original shorthorns to Herefords to today's black baldies.

Until the original house was built in about 1884, John lived with his cousin in a one-room cabin. A two-story house was built in 1898 and all three dwellings still are in use.

The Powell County property currently is owned by a corporation whose directors are Bill, Thomas, Patrick, Daniel and Patricia Geary, and whose shareholders are Nora A. Geary, of Columbia Falls, and Michelle Geary Holt, of Helena.

Vignettes of people involved with the ranch:

€ John T. "Jack" Geary, attended Helmville Elementary School, as did all of his brothers, and graduated from Boys' Central High School in Butte. He later attended Carroll College in Helena and graduated from the San Francisco College of Mortuary Science.

After World War II service from 1942-46 in the Railway Battalion in Europe, he worked in Butte in the mortuary business for two years before moving back to the ranch with his family, where he worked until his death in 1994.

€ Jack's widow, Patricia, graduated from Girls' Central High School in Butte and later attended the Montana School of Mines, Butte Business College and Western Montana College in Dillon.

She taught school in Helmville and the surrounding area, and also served as a substitute teacher.

Currently, she is a teacher's aide at the Helmville School.

€ William M. "Bill" Geary graduated from Powell County High School and attended the University of Montana before leaving for World War II service in the Marines in the South Pacific.

For 51 years, since his discharge in 1946, he has worked on the ranch.

€ Thomas F. Geary, Jr. also graduated from Powell County High School and was employed by the county in the Helmville area for more than 40 years.

After his retirement, he returned to work on the ranch.

€ Patrick D. Geary graduated from Powell County High School and served in the Army during World War II in the South Pacific.

He attended Butte Business College and became a computer specialist for many years for the Anaconda Company and its successor, Atlantic Richfield Co.

He later taught computer science at the Butte Vocational-Technical Center, and now is retired and living in the Mining City.

€ Dan Geary graduated from Powell County High School and the University of Montana with a degree in geology.

After working many years for Corr Laboratories, he returned to work on the ranch. Dan is an Army veteran.

€ Hugh J. Geary was educated in Helmville and worked on the ranch until his death in 1989.

€ Joseph F. Geary graduated from Powell County High School and was attended the University of Montana when he was fatally injured in an automobile accident in 1950.

€ Margaret Ann Geary was born in 1940 and died in 1942 at the age of 20 months. The Geary property has been in the family for more than 135 years.

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