Padre Garcia's old name is Lumang Bayan, as it is the former seat of government of the neighboring town of Rosario. The name of the town is derived from one of its most famous sons, Padre Vicente Garcia, a native of Barangay Maugat. He was one of the first defender's of Jose Rizal's Noli Me Tangere. He and Rizal were friends during the time when they were fighting for the Philippine's independence from Spain.
The town was originally a part of Rosario and known as Lumang Bayan or Sambat. It became a separate municipality in 1949, with Jose A. Pesigan and Rustico K. Recto as first elected mayor and vice mayor respectively.
In 1952, the town council founded the cattle market or "bakahan". This was in direct competition to the established livestock market of neighbouring Rosario, which resulted in rivalry, intimidation, and violence at times. But the market succeeded and developed into the biggest auction market in Southern Tagalog.