Sunday, January 22, 2017
"The first branded cattle in Tehama County belonged to William B. Ide," writes Josie Smith, "who drove 165 head of cattle to California in 1845." A year later Ide became the "civil leader of the Bear Flag Revolt" which declared California to be an independent republic. "The Bear Flag Republic lasted 25 days. It was brought to an end when US Navy lieutenant Joseph Warren Revere (Paul Revere's grandson) arrived in Sonoma and raised the Stars and Stripes on July 9, 1846."
The William B. Ide Adobe State Historic Park honors Ide, though the original adobe, built in 1852, was not his actual home ("he lived farther downriver").
While Ide was a historic figure, Smith focuses on capturing everyday life in "Tehama County" ($21.99 in paperback from Arcadia Publishing, arcadiapublishing.com; also for Amazon Kindle) by Josie Smith and the Tehama County Genealogical and Historical Society. (Though a Chico resident, Smith notes in her acknowledgments that the society "adopted a Butte County person as a board member.")
The book is part of the "Images of America" series featuring large black-and-white photographs with detailed captions. Tehama County came into existence in 1856, carved "from territory belonging to Shasta, Butte, and Colusa Counties." No one knows for sure where the name came from, though there are stories. What is certain is that the book captures the vibrant rural life in the county, from Red Bluff to Paskenta, from Corning to Jellys Ferry.
The book is divided into chapters devoted to the four corners of Tehama County interspersed with sections on transportation, agriculture, and recreation. There's a dramatic picture of the "1915 blast of Lassen Peak … from Walnut Street in Red Bluff 37 miles away," and a closer image of the eruption a year earlier.
There's a picture of a Cushman Harvester, drawn by forty mules, working in the southwestern part of the county around 1902. Elsewhere a caption notes that "by 1890, there were 700,000 gallons of brandy stored in the Internal Revenue brick bonded warehouse at (Leland) Stanford's Vina Ranch. Federal law required brandy to be aged under lock and key and then taxed when removed."
Harvested and aged, the pictures and text are a delight.