On March 16, 1758, the turmoil sweeping North America came crashing down on the little log mission on the banks of the San Sabá River. Allied northern tribes, pressed from all sides, attacked the Mission Santa Cruz de San Sabá and burned it to the ground.
In After the Massacre Robert S. Weddle chronicles with scholarly authority the events following the attack: the Spaniards' expedition to the Red River to punish the offending Taovaya Indians and their allies; the villainous intrigue responsible for the erroneous view of the episode; the abortive effort to bring peace to the frontier; the ultimate fate of the Taovayas; and the archaeology of recent times that has done much to complete the story.
The narrative focuses on the relatively unknown diary of Juan Ángel de Oyarzún, a captain on the 1759 expedition, and other documents from Spanish archives, all translated as appendices. Oyarzún, in addition to his day-to-day account of the march and the battle, illuminates the natural history of the Rolling Plains and the Western Cross Timbers.
Robert S. Weddle, often referred to as "the dean of Texas Colonial history," was knighted in 2001 by King Juan Carlos of Spain in the Order of Isabel la Católica, Spain's highest honor bestowed on a noncitizen. His 1964 book, The San Sabá Mission: Spanish Pivot in Texas, has been followed by many others, including The Wreck of the Belle, the Ruin of La Salle. He lives near Bonham, Texas.