Gene White, a local known author, has written and co-authored several books with Marshall McGhee, about Briceville. With permission from Gene, here are excerpts from a book called, “Briceville, the town that coal built”.
History of Briceville
Anderson County, Tennessee
In 1835 two young Civil Engineers by the names of Henry H Wiley and William S McEwen formed a partnership and entered, surveyed, and secured grants on about all the mountain lands in Anderson County, as well as many acres in Campbell and Morgan counties. Their work was completed with their grants all secured by about 1848.
Later three corporations were formed to take over their holdings: the COAL CREEK MINING and MANUFACTURING CO, the POPLAR CREEK COAL and IRON CO, and the TENNESSEE MINING and MANUFACTURING CO.
Another pioneer inbusiness was a giant of a man by the name of Jonathan Heck. Heck secured many mountain grants, formed the United Coal Company and the Coal Creek Consolidated Coal Company, and deeded these grants to these companies. After his death the Coal Creek Mining and Manufacturing Company purchased his holdings in Anderson and Campbell counties. Heck started the original old Royal Consolidated Coal Company mines later run by George Chandler and William Pless.
There was a fourth man that came later into the picture. He had much to do in developing this section. He was Senator Calvin S Brice of Ohio – a short, heavy-set, red-headed man of great energy and very impulsive. Mr. Brice was a financier with offices in New York City. Being a very wealthy man, Brice was interested in many developments in the South. He was interested in the old East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia Railroad (now the Southern), and in the Knoxville and Ohio, now the Coal Creek Branch from Knoxville to Jellico, and was also a large stockholder in the Coal Creek Mining and Manufacturing Company and a director in the company. Briceville was named after Senator Brice.
Coal Creek (Lake City) got its name from the creek that runs through the town, but strangely enough, the coal deposits on its watershed had nothing to do with the name. The name of the creek was for a man named “Cole”, and all old papers, deeds, grants, etc., spell out the name of this stream as “Cole” Creek, not “Coal” Creek. When the railroad came and a depot was built the spelling was changed.
In 1888, largely through the influence of Senator Calvin S Brice, the railroad was extended to the present Cross Mountain or Slatestone mine, and in 1889 another spur was extended to the Tennessee Mine. The old Knoxville Iron Company lease is dated Feb 27, 1888. The Tennessee line was further extended and the Minersville Mine started in 1904.