Mesa's first small cemetery was established in 1883, following a smallpox epidemic that claimed the lives of 44 residents. As the community grew, more space was needed, and in 1891, land was purchased along Center Street north of Brown Road for this purpose.
The cemetery celebrated its centennial anniversary in 1991 with the publication of a historic walking tour map, documenting the graves of individuals who played a key role in Mesa's history. This brochure can be obtained at the Cemetery office by visitors wishing to tour the grounds.
RAF Fighter Pilots
RAF Pilot Memorial
During World War II, an airbase was constructed in Mesa for the training of U.S. and British fighter pilots. More than 2,000 pilots were trained at this airfield, Falcon Field, which today serves as a municipal airport. Twenty-three British cadets and one American pilot were killed in air accidents during Falcon Field's four years as a training facility, and these individuals are buried in a special section of the Mesa Cemetery.
Located near the center of the Cemetery, the airmen's grave markers include rank, serial numbers, and the eagle crest of the RAF. A special Memorial Day service is held annually to commemorate the sacrifice of these individuals. The service is held on the Sunday before the observed Veteran's Day holiday, at 10:45 am. In addition, a monument in memory of all who served at Falcon Field was dedicated in 1991 at Falcon Field Park.
To the north of the Cemetery office is a section dedicated to "those persons unknown buried during the Great Depression". The area reflects on a bleak period of American history when even permanent memorials were a luxury.
Noted individuals buried in the Mesa Cemetery include:
Waylon Jennings - popular country/western singer and songwriter. Waylon Jennings grave is located on 9th Street. Park by the 1st garbage can south of B Street. Walk east 4 rows of graves to find his black granite monument.
John Lee - as Wild West entertainer "Powder River Jack", he popularized the American folk song "Red River Valley"
Ernesto Miranda - whose 1966 Supreme Court case resulted in the "Miranda Rule", which requires that law enforcement officials inform individuals of their rights upon arrest
Daniel W. Jones - the leader of the first expedition party in 1877 to settle what is now Mesa
Mesa's four "founding fathers" - Charles Crismon, Frances Pomeroy, Charles Robson and George W. Sirrine, who are memorialized in a statue at Pioneer Park.