The Unique History and Lore of Mercer Cemetery

With Halloween right around the corner, ghosts, ghouls, and graveyards are on everyone's mind. Port Aransas certainly has its fair share of ghost stories, but the rich history of the area also means the local graveyard Mercer Cemetery contains many stories, both told and untold, of those who contributed to the development of this island destination.

Though Karawanka natives travelled nomadically along the coast for centuries, and it's rumored that pirates buried their treasure on Mustang Island in the early 19th century, the first recorded permanent settler in Port Aransas didn't arrive until the mid 1850s. Captain Robert Ainsworth Mercer, originally from England, settled in Port Aransas and began to log his family's experiences in what are now called "The Mercer Logs." More information on the logs are available through the Port Aransas Museum. Today's Mercer Cemetery was named after this pioneering family.

The Mercer Logs

The Mercer Logs cover more than a decade of early days on Mustang Island.

Captain Roberts' Tombstone

This photo shows the tombstone of Captain W.R. Roberts and a dedication sign of the cemetery to the descendants of John G. Mercer.

Mercer Cemetery was originally located underneath what is now the Port Aransas I.S.D. track. It was relocated after the 1919 hurricane covered the area with sand. Later, when the land was leveled for PAISD, tombstones were uncovered. All gravestones in the cemetery now are original except the Capt. Roberts stone, which was excavated when the land was being graded for the high school's track. Many burials were held in the sand dunes that existed where the track is today.

The cemetery contains many graves well over 100 years old, including those of many Farley family members, of Farley Boat Works. The legacy of this family was established when the first Farley boat was launched in 1915 and continues in the Farley boats being produced today as well as the Farley boat planters that dot the town's landscape. See some of those graves below. 

Halloween is a fun time for the spooky and scary, but also a great opportunity to reflect on some lesser-known histories. Have a safe weekend!

Happy Halloween!