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Statue of Padre Jose Nocolas Balli
In 1804, Padre Jose Nicolas Balli, a Catholic Missionary/Priest, founded a settlement on South Padre Island called Rancho Santa Cruz, where he raised cattle and horses. This bronze statue of the Padre shows him clad in a cassock and clasping a crucifix in his right hand. In 1829, the year he died, Balli was awarded title to the island by the Mexican government. His nephew, Juan Juse Balli, lived on the island until 1853. Many of Balli's descendents still live in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
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