Answered By: Nancy Alzo
Last Updated: Aug 25, 2014     Views: 338

Grace Mae Brown was a young girl who drowned in Big Moose Lake in Herkimer County New York in 1906.  Her lover, Chester Gillette was charged with murdering her although he maintained that she had committed suicide by jumping into the lake from the row boat they were in. Chester Gillette murdered Grace Mae Brown by hitting her in the head with a tennis recquet and pushing her into the water, where she subsequently drowned. He was found guilty and executed for the crime in 1908.

This Adirondack murder received wide press coverage and has inspired a number of fictional works.  Theodore Dreiser based his novel, An American Tragedy on the story.  The 1951 film, A Place in the Sun used the story as its theme.  Most recently, Jennifer Donnelly used the story in her novel A Northern Light.

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Chester Gillette in the lake with a tennis racquet

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