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Advocates of Shiloh Black Cemetery in Hutto apply for undertold history marker

A white sign attached to a fence reads, "Shilo Cemetery," in black letters. In the background, you can see tombstones and trees in a green pasture.
Kailey Hunt
The Shiloh Black Cemetery, also spelled Shilo, is located on County Road 139 in Hutto, Texas.

Volunteers and officials in Hutto have spent the past three years cleaning and helping beautify the historic Shiloh Black Cemetery. Now, they want the Texas Historical Commission to honor the site with a special marker as part of its undertold historical marker program.

The Shiloh Black Cemetery dates back to the 1800s and is believed to hold the remains of at least 130 individuals, including U.S. military veterans from World War I and World War II. But until recently, the site, which is located on County Road 139, had also been used as an illegal dumping ground for construction materials.

"Over the last three years, we have cleaned up a significant amount of trash, waste, paint cans ... leftover building supplies ... that was dumped in the cemetery," said Onnesha Williams, co-founder of Black Families of Hutto.

Williams said the group made it a goal in 2020 to help clean and beautify the cemetery, as well as preserve its history.

"It’s a hidden jewel of our history, and we need to preserve it because jewels are special and they are priceless," she said. "We need to consider that cemetery as special and priceless."

The Hutto City Council approved a motion to submit the cemetery's application for the undertold historical marker on Nov. 2.

The application included a letter from the Hutto Historic Commission outlining reasons why city officials believe the cemetery should be considered for the program.

"A historical marker for Shiloh Black Cemetery would serve as a lasting testament to the lives and legacies of those interred there and contribute to the broader efforts of preserving and acknowledging the history and heritage of the Black community in Hutto," the letter read. "This recognition is especially important as we strive to address historical injustices and work toward a more inclusive and equitable future."

The Texas Historical Commission is set to decide on awarding the historical marker in February.

Kailey Hunt is KUT's Williamson County reporter. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @KaileyEHunt.
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