Professor Matthew Mayo
12 December 2012
To catch a glimpse of the color wheel of flowers that is blossoming in the cool, brisk wind with the essences of freshness in the air. This can mean one thing, that spring has arrived and it is now that times to take the long awaited getaway to an island of fun in the sun. A place where memories are made, and worries are forgotten, the magnificent Padre Island. Padre Island extends roughly 130 miles along the South Texas coast; from Corpus Christi to Port Isabel, and has seen its share of Indians, pirates, hurricanes and many shipwrecks. You might have heard of South Padre Island or perhaps heard of Padre Island, but who is the Padre, and what connection does he have with the island?
Padre Island got its name from Jose Nicolas Balli a Catholic priest from Spain who owned it for nearly thirty years. Padre is a word defined as a traditional form of address for Catholic priests. After being granted the island by King Carlos III Padre Balli established a ranch on this island raising over one thousand longhorn cattle, horses’ mules and sheep with his nephew Juan Jose Balli as foreman by his side. Aside from ranch raising Padre Balli also established cathedrals and missions to Christianize the Karankawa Indians and to serve the people who worked on the ranch. In 1821 Mexico won their Independence from Spain. During the revolution all of Padre Balli’s letters and exclusive right documents that gave him title to the island were lost or destroyed. Therefore, Padre Balli had to reapply this time to the Mexican government to confirm the titles of the island to him, only now he names his nephew Juan Jose Balli as partner. His request was granted December 1829. However, Padre Balli had died on April 15, 1829, eight months before his petition was approved due to a rupture cerebral artery. His nephew Juan Jose Balli continued to operate the ranch with his family.