Sunday, March 30, 2008
3/30/08- 100 Years Ago... Today
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.