The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966 Page: 129
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present Menard, Texas, from San Antonio in 1757. There, far
beyond the northwestern frontier of Spanish control in Texas,
they founded a mission, from which they would evangelize the
Apaches, and a protective presidio. The following year the mis-
sion, christened Santa Cruz de San Sab, was destroyed and ten
of its personnel killed by swirling hordes of Comanches. Soldiers
and civilians, impotent and horrified, watched from the presidio
a short distance upstream. A few years later the presidio, named
San Luis de las Amarillas but later called simply San Sabi, was
moved first to the Nueces River and finally (1772) to the Rio
This in outline is a familiar tale that has fascinated writers
for years. Perhaps its attraction lies in this effort by Spaniards to
approach the Great Plains using techniques and institutions
evolved elsewhere on the northern frontier. More likely, the
interest stems from the dramatic and disastrous end to the dream
of converting the Plains Indians to Christianity as a means of
pacifying and controlling them. Possibly the lure of silver in the
hills known as Los Almagres has kept alive the interest, such as
the tales told by J. Frank Dobie in his Coronado's Children. For
whatever reason, there is a growing literature on the Spanish ef-
forts to mount their defenses against the Plains Indians, and the
San Saba affair was a highlight in that effort.
Robert S. Weddle, owner and editor of the Menard News, has
undertaken to retell the story. He has used the available printed
sources and secondary works and has consulted many of the doc-
uments illuminating the period. He has placed the action in the
context of international struggles in Europe and America for
control of North America. Part I contains that discussion, as
well as a foreground of the Apache-Comanche relationships and
their effect on Spanish policy in 'Texas in the first half of the
Eighteenth Century. Here the author makes his point, and well,
I believe, that San Sab (he accents the word to distinguish it
from present San Saba town and county) was a pivot of Spanish
interest in Texas. That is true as one looks at the frontier toward
the northwest from the settled areas in Texas.
The bulk of the book concerns the narrative of the founding
and destruction. The final part (Part V) briefly brings the story
of the region up to the present.
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966, periodical, 1966; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117144/m1/149/: accessed November 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.