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Is this the "murder weapon"? Jack Sherman, who has been diligently tracking down evidence for his re-enactment of the Gillette trial next summer, came across this tennis racket in sourthern Herkimer County. The current owners can track its origins back to George Ward's law partner. The only problem is that the weight of the racket is not the same as the description at the trial. If this is the racket, it was with Chester and Grace at the time of her death and was buried by Chester on the road from Big Moose to Eagle Bay on July 11, 1906. It was later found by sheriff's deputies after Chester told them were it was. George Ward claimed that Chester used this racket to murder Grace.
 The Trial  Photo taken from the balcony of the court house in Herkimer, New York, November 1906. The "X" in the center of the photo is over Gillette's head. His lawyers are on either side of him. The jury is seated in front of the window on the left. The judge is at the top center of the picture, with the witness stand to the right. George Ward, the district attorney, is questionig a witness on the stand. The table at the left, in front of the judge, is full of reporters covering the trial.  trial
The Sentencing  Drawing from the Saturday Globe of Gillette being sentenced to die by Judge Irving Devendorf. 
Grace Brown in 1901 Taken outside of the one-room Tallett Hill School on Stage Road in South Otselic, New York. Grace is at the top of the photo just to the right of her teacher, Maude Crumb.
Grace Brown's South Otselic farm house. The photo was taken on the day of her funeral in July 1906.
Chester Gillette in 1900   Taken in Chico, California in 1900 and originally published in the Salvation Army's newspaper, the Crier. Gillette is standing at the back. His father is in Salvation Army uniform.  His mother is directly in front of him. Also pictured are his two sisters and his brother. 
Chester at Oberlin - Chester was the captain of the 1901-1902 Oberlin Academy basketball team. He is in the first row, second from the right, with his hand on the basketball.
George W. Ward - The district attorney who prosecuted the case.
Albert Mills - One of Chester's two trial attorneys.
Charles Thomas - Chester's other trial attorney.
Map of Big Moose area - A map used at the trial showing the Glenmore Hotel, at the extreme west of Big Moose Lake, the spot where Grace Brown's body was found, and Chester's escape route through Eagle Bay to the Arrowhead Hotel in Inlet. 
Judge Irving Devendorf - The judge at the trial.
The Jury - Twelve men who decided Chester's fate.
Front Page - The New York Journal's front page made-up story about a lynch mob attempting to take Chester out of the jail.
Chester on July 4, 1906 - A week before the murder. Taken at Little York Lake, north of Cortland, by his date, Harriet Benedict. 
"A Place in the Sun"  1951 version of "An American Tragedy" with Elizabeth Taylor as "the other woman" and Montgomery Clift as the Chester Gillette character. Shelley Winters played the Grace Brown character.
"Ophelia" by John Millais. This painting depicts the drowned body of Ophelia, Hamlet's sister, from Shakespeare. In "A Place in the Sun" it is hanging in Montgomery Clift's bedroom and is clearly seen in the early part of the movie. Later, when  George Eastman has  to decide what to do about Alice Trip, the audience sees only parts of the painting, but the message is clear.
the end
The End - A drawing of Chester in the electric chair, March 30, 1908.
"Entreating" by Maud Gould, a piano teacher from Ilion, N.Y., she attended the trial and used the words from Grace Brown's letters for the lyrics to her 1907 waltz, which she dedicated to Grace Brown of South Otselic. Nearly 100 years later, Gene Scheer, the libretist for the opera "An American Tragedy" used the same words from the same letter for the aria in Act II scene 1.
A movie poster from the 1931
film "An American Tragedy"

All illustrations taken from Murder in the Adirondacks by Craig Brandon. (North Country Books 1986)

Contents Copyright 1986 by Craig Brandon. All Rights Reserved. 

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