At 125 years old, Skyview Cemetery is finally joining the Historic Texas Cemetery (HTC) club thanks to the efforts of the Hays County Historical Commission and the still thriving Skyview Cemetery Association. It’s 5-acres of historic grounds are still maintained and beloved by association members, including civil rights icon Mattie Welch, Kyle’s first elected African American City Council member.

A gray headstone in a cemetery

On October 18, 1899, Jason and Fanny Wilson, “granted, sold and conveyed,” for the sum of $75, five acres to the trustees of the Kyle Cemetery for Colored People (George Strain, George Washington, Edmund Clay, Elie Coppage and John Comfort). The earliest known burials are of Mary Kirby (1895), followed by Mattie Washington and Annie Hamilton (1899).

According to an interview with association member Maxine Gilford, the name Skyview was chosen by Sally Mickey, a longtime member of Kyle’s Sledge Chapel Baptist Church.

It was inspired by a common African American refrain dating back to the slavery era: "Our eyes always look towards the sky…heaven is in our view."

Entrance gate to a cemetery

Skyview replaced the original “Cemetery for Colored People” name with one that honored the lives and struggles of Kyle's early African American residents. Many descendants of families buried in Skyview belonged to Sledge Chapel Baptist Church, which instilled in young members the importance of maintaining family resting places.