County Seal

County Info


  • Total 2,962 sq mi (7,670 km2)
  • Land 2,950 sq mi (7,600 km2)
  • Water 12 sq mi (30 km2)

Population (April 1, 2010)[1]

  • Total 63,463
  • Estimate (2016)[2] 63,276
  • Density 21/sq mi (8.3/km2)


Tehama County was formed from parts of Butte, Colusa, and Shasta Counties in 1856.

The county is named for the City of Tehama. The origin of the name is not known. Suggested possible roots are the Spanish language word tejamanil (shingle), or “high water” in the dialect of local Native Americans.

The first permanent non-indigenous settlers in the area that is now Tehama County were Robert Hasty Thomes, Albert Gallatin Toomes, William George Chard, and Job Francis Dye. The four men were each given land grants by the government of Mexico in 1844. Thomes received Rancho Saucos, Toomes received Rancho Rio de los Molinos, Chard received Rancho Las Flores, and Dye received Rancho Primer Cañon o Rio de Los Berrendos. Later in the same year Josiah Belden received Rancho Barranca Colorado.[4]

Famous early figures include Kit Carson, who took part in a fight that gave name to Bloody Island and Battle Creek, Jedediah Smith, John C. Fremont, and William B. Ide, the first and only president of the California Republic.

The history of Tehama County includes the January 1886 relocation of Red Bluff’s Chinese population, followed by the August 1886 torching of Red Bluff’s Chinatown by alleged arsonists.[5] The January 29th, 1886 edition of The Daily Alta detailed ‘The Anti-Coolie Move’ and confirms that a secret anti-Chinese meeting was convened in the town of Tehama, and an organization established to relocate the estimated 2,000 Chinese in and around Vina. Secret daily anti-Chinese caucuses in Red Bluff were also held.[6]