An Introduction

Padre Jose Nicolas Balli's name has been known in the state of Texas as a famous historical person since he became one of the original grantees of the island that is located on the coast of Texas which bears his name, Padre Island. This island has had many names such La Isla Blanca, Isla de Corpus Christi, Isla de Son Carlos de las Malaguitas, Isla del Brozo de Santiago, Isla del Padre Balli and lastly Padre Island. He claimed the island since 1800 but was not given an official title to it until 1829. In 1804 the Padre founded a settlement named Rancho Santa Cruz and a Mission to Christianize the ferocious Karankawa Indians about twenty-six miles north of the island's southmost tip. With the help of his nephew, Juan Jose Balli, who was the mayordomo or foreman they were able to raise large herds of cattle, horses and mules in the tall natural grasses of the island. He stated that he had one thousand horses on the island thereby becoming the first rancher of the island.

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