New York October 10, 2018
This Disturbing Murder In New York Was So Creepy It Inspired A Movie
Most of the time when you talk about true and terrifying stories from New York that inspired movies, many people will think of our famous
Amityville house out on Long Island. But long before films were being made about Amityville and those murders even took place, there was another disturbing story that was sweeping the nation and inspiring books and films. An upsetting event that took place up in the Adirondacks, keep reading to find out the true story that inspired the 1951 film – A Place In The Sun.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
Historical markers can be found all throughout New York, but some of you may have noticed that the ones surrounding Big Moose Lake have a bit more gory of a tale to tell.
A young girl that grew up on a dairy farm in New York's Otselic Valley, Grace Brown was someone who longed for a faster pace of life, one that would take her away from the secluded farmland she had been raised on. When Grace was old enough, she moved out to Cortland and began working at the Gillette Skirt Factory in Cortland.
During Grace's time as an employee at the factory in the early 1900's, she managed to meet the factory owner's nephew - Chester Gillette.
As one of the Gillette's, Chester was someone who was well-known and sought after in town. As a wealthy, handsome looking man with such a well-known last name, Chester found most of the girls in town swooning over him. A bittersweet victory for Grace Brown, she won the affection of Chester Gillette but only to be kept a secret. Chester felt as a factory working, Grace would not be someone suitable to join the Gillette family and would never go on to acknowledge their relationship or let anyone know of it.
After continuing to date in secrecy, Grace found herself revealing to Chester in the summer of 1906 that she was pregnant - a piece of information that would ultimately lead to her demise.
Keep in mind that this entire fiasco was one that took place over a hundred years ago, long before things like teenage pregnancy had become so normalized that television shows were being created about it. When Grace realized that she was pregnant in 1906, she began to feel the pressure of getting Chester to marry her. During this era, unwed women with children were not greatly welcomed into society. After telling Chester about the pregnancy, Grace would move back home to be with her family in the Otselic Valley.
After an exchange of a series of letters, Chester let Grace know that he wanted to take her on a getaway to the Adirondack Mountains.
With Chester's child in her womb and her hopes set high, Grace had assumed this trip to the Adirondacks was leading up to the grandest gesture of all - a proposal. After spending the night up north and making their way through the Adirondacks, the young couple stopped at Big Moose Lake. After renting a boat to take out onto the lake in July, Chester brought Grace onto the water and hit her over the head with his tennis racket - knocking her overboard into the lake.
After the boat that Chester and Grace rented was not returned, a search was made to find the young couple out on the lake.
During the search for the missing boat and the young couple who had rented it, the capsized boat and the body of Grace Brown was found out on Big Moose Lake. With the man who had accompanied her nowhere in sight, the search continued that led officials to find Chester hiding away in a nearby hotel. When initially questioned, Chester claimed to not even know how Grace was nor know anything about the capsized boat that had been rented.
A murder that would become a topic of the nation, Chester Gillette would eventually be sentenced to death by the electric chair in Auburn Prison.
During the trial of Grace Brown's murder, it was revealed that during their exchange of letters, Grace had let Chester know she was unable to swim. Knowing Grace was pregnant and in his eyes, unfit to marry into his family, Chester knocked Grace's pregnant body into the water and left her to drown. The trial was one that became famous and led to Chester's execution in 1908 after he was found guilty and had even reportedly admitted to the murder to those who were close to him.
But the trial wasn't the only thing to put Grace Brown's murder in the spotlight! 40 years later, the scandalous and heartbreaking murder of a young pregnant woman would be the inspiration for the Hollywood hit A Place In The Sun that came out in 1951 and starred Elizabeth Taylor. Did you know about the murder of Grace Brown or that it inspired this movie?
Want to continue to keep yourself spooked during the month of October? Then make sure you read about
The New York Farm That Transforms Into A Halloween Wonderland Each Year!