Mary Ellis grave

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Grave of Mary Ellis (1750–1828) in 2003

The Mary Ellis grave is an 1828 gravestone located in the parking lot of a former Loew's movie theatre in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

After Mary Ellis' burial, the family home and property eventually became the site for the Great Eastern Discount Department Store and, after that went out of business in the early-to-mid-1970s, The Route 1 Flea Market. Currently, and since about the late 1990s, the site includes an AMC Theater and Famous Dave's Restaurant .

The grave remained in what became a parking lot for many businesses. It rests about seven feet (2.1 m) above the level of the parking lot ever since the site was re-graded for development.[1][2][3]


Death order[edit]

  • Mildred Moody (1746–1816) who married Thomas M. Evans
  • Thomas M. Evans (1790–1820)
  • Mary Ellis (1750–1828)[4]
  • Margaret Ellis (1767–1850) who married Anthony Walton White (1750–1803) General of the United States Army[5]
  • Eliza Mary White (1792–1861) who married Thomas M. Evans
  • Elizabeth Margaret Evans (1813–1898)
  • Isabelle Johanna Evans (1815–1901)

Birth order[edit]

  • Mildred Moody (1746–1816) who married Thomas M. Evans
  • Mary Ellis (1750–1828)
  • Margaret Ellis (1767–1850) who married Anthony Walton White (1750–1803) General of the United States Army
  • Thomas M. Evans (1790–1820)
  • Eliza Mary White (1792–1861) who married Thomas M. Evans
  • Elizabeth Margaret Evans (1813–1898)
  • Isabelle Johanna Evans (1815–1901)

Mary Ellis[edit]

Mary Ellis (1750–1828)[4] was a spinster in New Brunswick, New Jersey.[6] According to oral tradition, she was seduced by a sea captain who vowed to return to marry her. He never returned and she would come to the spot where her grave now stands, each day, to look for his ship in the Raritan River in New Brunswick.[1]

Her story has been suggested[2] as the inspiration for the 1972 pop song Brandy (You're a Fine Girl). The lyrics tell of Brandy, a barmaid in a port town. She wins the admiration of many of the sailors, but cannot return their feelings — the love of her life was unwilling to abandon his true love, the sea.[2]


  1. ^ a b Janice Kohl Sarapin (2002). Old Burial Grounds of New Jersey. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 0-8135-2111-4. The Gravestone in the Parking Lot. ... Back in the 1790s, Mary Ellis came to New Brunswick to stay with her younger sister, Margaret, and her husband, Colonel Anthony White. 
  2. ^ a b c "Mary Ellis Grave". Weird NJ. Retrieved August 21, 2007. As the legend goes, Mary Ellis came to New Brunswick in the 1790s to stay with her younger sister Margaret. It was around this time that she met and fell in love with a man who was a sea captain, and former Revolutionary War officer. The Captain sailed down the Raritan and out to sea one day, vowing that when he returned he and Mary would be wed. He even left her his beloved horse to look after in his absence. Every day after her captain's departure, Mary would ride his horse from her sister's house, on what is now Livingston Avenue, down to the banks of the river to eagerly await a glimpse of her lover's returning ship. ... 
  3. ^ "New Brunswick, New Jersey – Parking Lot Grave of Sailor's Girl". Roadside America. Retrieved December 20, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b Daisy Adare; Georgia Lass (September 11, 2010). "Mary Ellis' gravestone". Archived from the original on April 15, 2012. Retrieved April 15, 2012. Death date 1828 on the gravestone but the Findagrave description says 1827 and Martin (2005) says 1826. 
  5. ^ "Anthony Walton White". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. White, Anthony Walton, soldier, born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, 7 July 1750; died there, 10 February 1803. ... 
  6. ^ Martin, Antoinette (November 6, 2005). "A Sentimental Developer Saves a Grave.". New York Times. Retrieved August 21, 2007. This story concerns real estate in the 21st century, but it starts with a long-ago romance. Sometime in the 1790s, a woman named Mary Ellis arrived in New Brunswick and fell in love with a sea captain who had been an officer in the Revolutionary War. The captain soon put out to sea again, heading down the Raritan River toward New York Harbor, but he left behind his trusty horse – and a promise to marry Mary when he returned. The graves of Mary Ellis and two others are to be moved to a site closer to the Raritan River if the Raritan Heights development is built. Every day for years after, as local legend has it, Mary rode her sweetheart's steed to the riverbanks, waiting for her beloved to reappear. In 1813, she purchased a piece of property overlooking the river from which she maintained the daily watch – until she died, her love unrequited, in 1826 [sic]. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°29′21.27″N 74°24′59.53″W / 40.4892417°N 74.4165361°W / 40.4892417; -74.4165361