Red Bluff derives its name from its location on a high vertical bank at the bend of the Sacramento River. Although never a mining camp, Red Bluff ranks with the celebrated towns of the gold rush days in age, exciting history, colorful personalities, and in present day importance.

In 1843 Lassen and two fellow pioneers were in Red Bluff tracking down horse thieves. He was so impressed by the land that he sought and received from the Mexican Government a grant of 25,000 acres a few miles south of where the city now stands. On that tract in early 1847, he laid out a townsite and named in Benton City in honor of Senator Thomas H. Benton of Missouri. Then he journeyed to Missouri, to induce settlers to come out and also to obtain a charter for a Masonic Lodge which he wished to establish in his settlement

 
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Where Tehama County got its present name remains a mystery, but it was generally considered to be of Indian origin. Its interpretation is muddled and four choices are offered: "Highland", "Lowland", "Shallow" and "Salmon". All the names are appropriate, for Tehama County is a land of contrasting beauty.

To the east and west the land begins to roll into foothills and then rears suddenly into mountain ranges. A "Tehaman" looks north to snow capped Mount Shasta and east to Mount Lassen, the only recently active volcano in the continental United States. Just north of Red Bluff is hill country covered with stands of live oak. To the east lie the Sierras, to the west the mountains of the Coast Range, and in between there is a strip of rich farm land on which grow rolling fields of grain, permanent pasture, and timber which provide an extensive range lands.