Our American Haunted Love Story begins with the Gilette family, our main suitor of interest, Chester Gilette, was born on August 9, 1883 to Louisa and Frank Gilette. He was born and raised in Wix, Montana, which was a silver mining town at the time where his father worked in the mines. Louisa would say that Chester, as a child, was active and irresponsible, but he was also to be trusted. When Chester was at the age of three, his family moved to Spokane, Washington where is father would operate an express company out of a restaurant. Unfortunately, after a grave fire that engulfed the town, the Gilette family was left broke and homeless, forced to join the Salvation Army. Eventually, when Chester reached his teen years he was given an opportunity through friends and family to go to college in the East. Chester attended college in the state of Ohio where he studied English. Chester didn’t stay long in college however. After one year, he moved on to live in Chicago where he worked in hotels and restaurants which eventually landed him a job with the West Train Company as a Railroad Brakeman. After the job proved to be too dangerous for him, he headed off to Cortland, New York where his uncle resided as an owner of the Gilette Skirt Factory. Chester was offered a job in the company. It was here where Chester came across the beautiful Grace Brown.
Grace Brown and Chester Gillette
Grace was born on March 20th of 1886 on a humble farm with a large family of nine children of Minerva and Frank Brown. In her life, Grace wanted to eventually get married and raise a family. Grace attended a small school until she was sixteen years of age when she worked full time on her family farm. However, Grace decided that the farm life wasn’t for her and decided to move to Cortland, New York where she would stay with her sister until she received a job at the Gilette Skirt Factory. After receiving her job, Grace rented her own room in a household close to the factory.
One night, after Grace had returned from work, Chester greeted Grace at her doorstep. It wasn’t soon after that the two began to see each other. But, Grace wasn’t the only woman Chester was courting. Chester’s uncle would invite him to many parties held with people of high society. It was at these parties where Chester was known to meet and court other women. Grace would hear of these rumors but was still hopelessly in love with him. One day, the one event happened that would change the lives of Grace and Chester… Grace discovered that she was pregnant with Chester’s child. Upon this discovery, Grace decided to quit her job at the skirt factory and move back to her family farm where Chester would eventually meet her to take her away to get married. At least that’s what Grace was led to believe.
Grace would wait up for Chester every day and write love letters to him, awaiting his return. Chester was under the impression that the problem of Grace being pregnant would just go away when she moved back to her family home. But eventually Chester agreed to meet with Grace in a town between their two residences. Chester brought with him his suitcase, his camera, and his tennis racket. Chester had proclaimed their romantic trip to the Adirondack Mountains. Chester and Grace checked into the Glenn Moore Hotel which was located on Big Moose Lake where Chester registered under a fake name. Chester decided to take Grace out onto the lake for a romantic boat ride… or so it seemed. Chester took the boat out far into the lake where eventually no one was in sight and parked the boat. Chester left his suitcase and camera on shore but he left the tennis racket in the boat. Suddenly this was no longer a romantic boat ride and Grace Brown suffered from an unholy attack by Chester and his tennis racket. The drowning is what eventually took Grace’s life. And Chester ran away.
Soon, Grace’s body was found and the investigation for the murder began. Chester was persecuted for the murder of Grace Brown and sentenced to death by electric chair at 6:00 A.M. on March 30th of 1908.
And so goes the tale of the Haunted Love Story between Chester Gilette and Grace Brown. Chester Gilette is said to roam the halls of the Herkimer County Jail where he awaited the results of his trial, and Grace Brown is said to still reside on the eeriness of Big Moose Lake.
All images courtesy of: www.newyorkupstate.com/adirondacks