Sunday, March 30, 2008

3/30/08- 100 Years Ago... Today

"Monday Morning.

Went to bed at 12:30 and was asleep in a few minutes. Slept soundly until called at 3:45. Feel refreshed and calm. I am surprised that I can look at this matter so calmly. Had communion for the first time. I feel that I am fully prepared to go and meet Jesus. I shall watch for the others.

Was so glad when "Mac" told me that Paul had taken a stand for Christ. This makes me happier than anything else could have done. May the rest be comforted as I have been in these last moments.

Had a very nice little breakfast and appreciate everyone's kindness. They have all been so kind and courteous. I am very grateful to each one. Good morning All.

P.S. If it isn't any extra expense or too much trouble please have "Taps" played at the last.

'Gone to be with Jesus.'


The following passage contained the last words that were written one hundred years ago today by Chester Ellsworth Gillette. He finished the entry just ten minutes before two guards arrived at his cell on Death Row at Auburn State Prison to lead him to the chamber that held the electric chair where he paid the ultimate price for the murder of Grace Brown nearly two years earlier.

Those words can still be read today in the recently published book, "The Prison Diary and Letters of Chester Gillette" by Craig Brandon and Jack Sherman. The diary book basically told the story of Chester's redemption as he acknowledged the pain he caused his family and friends because of his actions and begged for a chance to repay them for everything that they did for him.

It also describes how Chester was able to accept his fate so calmly, even though he remained blindly confident that some miraculous legal act would come into play and he would be granted a new trial and released. Even when he walked into the chamber and sat down in the chair, he was able to accept his fate with dignity.

Unlike the centennial commemorating Grace's death in 2006, the question here is, how do you commemorate an execution, even if is the execution of a murderer whose actions spawned a classic novel, two movies, and an opera? That's probably one question that is very hard to answer. Hopefully, he may finally have found the peace he was looking for.

Friday, January 11, 2008

1/11/08- Here's The Latest...

Well, here we are for another year on the Chester and Grace site and this year officially kicks off with the release of the latest Gillette book, "The Prison Diary and Letters of Chester Gillette," as written by Craig Brandon and Jack Sherman and it is based on the diary that Chester kept while awaiting his execution in Auburn Prison and also contains letters that he wrote to family members.

This book is significant from the previous Gillette books mainly because for the first time, we experience the case through Chester's own words and it depicts a Chester that die-hard Gillette buffs didn't know existed. Even though the diary did not contain a confession or an account of what happened to Grace on July 11, 1906 at Big Moose Lake, it does deal with Chester's transformation from a careless, thoughtless individual into a more mature young man who cared about the well-being of his family.

As you know last March, the diary, along with the letters were donated to Hamilton College and were added to its extensive Gillette trial collection that also includes Grace's letters. And also this year is significant because March 30 marks the 100th anniversary of Chester's execution in the electric chair for Grace's murder.

Hopefully this year will also be significant for the fact that my book will also be out. The book will mainly be another retelling of the whole case and contains some new material, including Grace's diary from 1902 and the events that came after the publication of Craig's first book, "Murder in the Adirondacks", including the centennial commemoration of Grace's death in 2006 and the book "A Northern Light". I still have six chapters left to complete but I am hoping to have them completed within the next two months or so.

So, anyway, here was the latest from the Gillette front.