Thursday, April 20, 2006
4/20/06- Forbidden Love
A little over a month after his arrival in Cortland, New York in the spring of 1905, Chester Gillette encountered the one event that would change the course of his life forever.
That would be the day he met Grace Brown.
The exact circumstances of how they met is still unclear. The most famous account was that one day, Chester was visiting the inspection department on the cutting room floor of the Gillette Skirt Factory building. He then saw a ring rolling to a stop right by his foot. He picked it up and traced it to a lovely young woman, slightly embarrassed because the ring slipped off her finger while she was inspecting a finished product. Chester was quite the gentleman, very polite and courteous to the young woman. Before that month was out, they would be seen together frequently while they were working and later when they were not working.
Chester started visiting Grace at her sister's house, where she had been staying since she moved to Cortland in the fall of 1904. He made quite an impression on Grace's sister and her family. They were impressed enough that they allowed Chester to see Grace without supervision, which in those days was probably not a good idea. By the end of that summer, their relationship reached the point where they started making love in the parlor of her sister's house at least twice a week.
By that fall, Grace found herself without a place to stay after a death in the family forced her sister to move back to Chenango County. Chester was able to influence his uncle to set her up in a boarding house not far from the factory. If Grace had to leave the area too, Chester would have nothing to do.
That soon changed when the girls of high society started inviting Chester to social function, which therefore forced him to push Grace away into the background. She had tried in vain to persuade him to take her with him to the social functions, but he refused. From that point on, Grace only saw him two nights out of the whole week.
Then in April of 1906, the one thing every unmarried woman in those days feared had finally happened to Grace: She was pregnant.