On the evening of July 8, 1906, a train from Cortland pulled into the station in the town of DeRuyter, New York. One of the passengers who disembarked from the train was a young man who was carrying a suitcase that contained a few articles of clothes, a Kodak camera, a tripod, and strapped to the front of his suitcase was a wooden tennis racket. It seemed apparent that he was going on vacation. After all, it was the summer season. However, Chester Gillette was not planning for a vacation.
He arrived in DeRuyter at the heartfelt urging of his sweetheart Grace Brown, who for the past three weeks had been trying to get him to come for her so that they could go away together on what she thought would be their wedding trip. However he was not planning to marry her. Instead, he was planning something much worse mainly because he wanted to continue his dalliances with the high society women of Cortland without fear of being hampered by her unplanned pregnancy.
His original plan when he got there was to hire a team of horses to drive to her home in South Otselic, over ten miles away. However, the proprietor did not have any horses that were rested enough for him to make the journey and it was also too dark for him to travel. There was also the fact that Grace was not at her family farm that night. She was staying overnight with a friend who lived in town before heading out to DeRuyter in the morning.
Instead, he went to the Tabor House, the hotel that Grace told him that she would meet him at, and registered under the assumed name "Charles George" and put down his address as New York City. He would use that alias again two nights later in Tupper Lake. That night marked the beginning of a pattern that Chester used throughout his trip while Grace was with him: A pattern that involved the use of assumed names that included his real initials, and this was established as evidence to indicate that Chester was planning to kill her.
Grace arrived at the Tabor House around 9:30 the next morning and in the parlor of the hotel, she was reunited with Chester for the first time in three weeks. They discussed their plans on where they would go and they agreed on the Adirondacks. They boarded the train that was going to Canastota in order to connect to trains that were headed for Utica and the Adirondacks.
They rode in separate cars to avoid suspicion. However on the ride to Canastota, Chester saw two girls from the group he hung out with in Cortland on the train. They were also on their way to the Adirondacks. Chester told the girls that he was on his way to Raquette Lake. He promised that he would meet them later on in the week.
That evening, Chester and Grace stayed at the Hotel Martin in Utica. Grace was really impressed with Uitca because it was the largest city she had ever seen. However Utica was no small potatoes to Chester, who lived in Chicago and San Francisco. At the hotel, he used the assumed name "Charles Gordon" and listed Grace as his wife. Then when they left the next day, they left without paying the bill, probably knowing that the blame would be placed on someone else. This was an act that would later come back to haunt him.
After a train ride through the Adirondacks that was filled with spectacular outdoor scenery, Chester and Grace arrived at their next stop: The town of Tupper Lake. Once there, he used the Charles George alias again and again he listed Grace as his wife.
However, tensions between Chester and Grace did not get any better in those two days they were together. And things were about to get a lot worse.