Located in rural Anderson County, not far from Lake City, is the small community of Briceville, along Coal Creek. Today, not much remains of Briceville. It was started in the mid-1800s as a mining town, and grew to a fairly prosperous town centered on the mining industry. Practically every man who lived along Coal Creek worked in the mines.
The Coal Creek Mining and Manufacturing Co. kept everyone in Briceville employed, until prisoners were sent to work in the mines. This first happened in 1877, and while it saved the mining company money, it also left many miners without a job. As a result, the now unemployed miners became very angry, to the point of taking up arms and revolting. On October 31, 1891, the armed band of miners attacked the mines and freed the convicts. After this, the state militia was sent in to stop the revolt, leading to some skirmishes between the militia and the miners. Though the revolt was defeated, the convict labor system was eventually discontinued. In 1898, Brushy Mountain State Prison was established in nearby Morgan County.
Among those killed in the uprising was a young miner named Dick Drummond. During the insurrection, the militia captured him, and lynched him from a railroad bridge in Briceville. Today, that bridge is known as "Drummond Bridge." Local legend holds that the ghost of Dick Drummond still haunts the bridge to this day.
Just over a decade after the mining revolt, one of the greatest tragedies in the history of Tennessee occurred. The Fraterville Mining disaster killed 184 of the 187 men living in the area. This disaster led to many new regulations on the mining industry geared at making them safer.