Mary Ellis grave

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Grave of Mary Ellis (1750–1828) in 2003

The Mary Ellis grave is marked by an 1828 gravestone located in the parking lot of a Loew's movie theatre in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The Mary Ellis grave is one of several on the small plot (sometimes called the "Loews Cemetery"), all the interred being interrelated.

After Mary Ellis's 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.[1] Currently, and since about the late 1990s, the site contains an AMC Theater.

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.[2][3][4]

Mary Ellis[edit]

Mary Ellis (1750–1828)[5] 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.[2]

Her story has been suggested[3] 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.[3]

However Elliot Lurie, lead guitarist for Looking Glass and writer/singer of the song, said in an interview that the lyrics were loosely based on a girl he knew in real life named "Randye" but he changed the name to "Brandy" to remove the ambiguity of the gender. While the stories may be similar, the song has nothing to do with Mary Ellis. “No, that’s an incredible coincidence,” he said. “I write fiction.”[7]

Additional Deceased[edit]

  • Mildred Moody (1746–1816) who married Thomas M. Evans
  • Thomas M. Evans (1790–1820)
  • Mary Ellis (1750–1828)[5]
  • Margaret Ellis (1767–1850) who married Anthony Walton White (1750–1803) General of the United States Army[8]
  • Eliza Mary White (1792–1861) who married Thomas M. Evans
  • Elizabeth Margaret Evans (1813–1898)
  • Isabelle Johanna Evans (1815–1901)


  1. ^ Farley, Damien. "AMC Loews New Brunswick 18". Cinema Treasures. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011.
  2. ^ a b Sarapin, Janice Kohl (1994). Old Burial Grounds of New Jersey. Rutgers University Press. pp. 41–43. ISBN 978-0-8135-2111-4. 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.
  3. ^ a b c "The Final Parking Place of Mary Ellis". Weird NJ. Archived from the original on October 16, 2014. As the story 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. ...
  4. ^ "New Brunswick, New Jersey: Parking Lot Grave of Sailor's Girl". Roadside America. Archived from the original on June 6, 2014.
  5. ^ a b Adare, Daisy; Lass, Georgia (September 11, 2010). "Mary Ellis' gravestone". Archived from the original on July 23, 2015. Death date 1828 on the gravestone but the Findagrave description says 1827 and Martin (2005) says 1826.
  6. ^ Martin, Antoinette (November 6, 2005). "A Sentimental Developer Saves a Grave". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 29, 2015. 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].
  7. ^
  8. ^ Ricord, Frederick W. (1889). "White, Anthony Walton". In Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John (eds.). Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. VI (1st ed.). Appleton. White, Anthony Walton, soldier, born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, 7 July 1750; died there, 10 February 1803. ...

External links[edit]

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