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The Ballí lineage actually was first known as Vailly and originates in the provinces of Verona and Paudua, Italy. The family name signifies "dweller in a valley". They also became members of the Order of Santiago who fought against the Moors as mercenaries. The family’s Coat of Arms dates back to 1326. Ballí was a rich and influential family that extended throughout Italy, Spain and Mexico. They became the first settlers of Nuevo Santander. They were also grantees of large porciones on both sides of the Rio Grande by 1767. Later most of the family's properties were annexed into the United States.

The first Ballí we have record of in Mexico, is Pierre Vailly who settled in Mexico City in 1569. Pierre was born in Paudua, Italy and was the son of Juan Bautista Vailly, and Catalina Rodriguez. His father was French and his mother was Italian. In 1574, Pierre was named fourth printer of the New World by royal decree of King Phillip II. His printing house was located on the corner of Moneda Street and Lic. Verdad in Mexico City. His heirs operated the printing press till 1632. He produced over 60 books, including some in native language and others for the University of Mexico. He later changed his name to the castilian spelling, Pedro Ballí and married Catalina de Valle. Together they had four sons, Juan Bautista, Jeronimo, Alonzo, and Pedro II. Pedro II married and one of his children was Nicolas Ballí. Nicolas married and had a son by the name of NICOLAS BALLÍ PEREZ II. (See Herminia Ballí de Chavana's book for more information) This Nicolas cannot be considered as Nicolas III as he took his mother's maiden name of Guerra. The Guerra family was very prominent at the time. (See Dr. Cleotilde Garcia's book for more information)

    NICOLAS BALLÍ PEREZ II (married 01-04-1706) Josefa Guerra y Garza
    1. Juan Antonio Ballí Guerra
    2. Nicolás José Ballí Guerra
    3. Manuel Ballí Guerra
    4. Bartolomé Ballí Guerra
    JUAN ANTONIO BALLÍ GUERRA (married) Francisca Rosalia Villarreal Rodriguez
    1. Maria Gregoria Ballí Villarreal
    2. Maria Guadalupe Ballí Villarreal
    3. Jose Cipriano Ballí Villarreal
    4. Ana Catariano Ballí Villarreal
    5. Maria Josefa Ballí Villarreal
    6. Jose Enrique Ballí Villarreal
    7. Jose Francisco Ballí Villarreal (Barreta original grantee 1801)
    8. Jose Antonio Ballí Villarreal
    9. Jose Ygnacio Ballí Villarreal
    10. Jose Manuel Ballí Villarreal (1804 bought Barreta from Francisco)
    11. Juan Antonio Ballí Villarreal
    JOSE MANUEL BALLÍ VILLARREAL (married) Maria Antonia Cavazos de Hinojosa
    1. Manuela Ballí Cavasos
    2. Victoria Ballí Cavazos
    3. Ygnacio Ballí Cavazos
    4. Ysidro Ballí Cavazos
    5. Antonio Ballí Cavazos
    6. Refugia Ballí Cavazos
    7. Francisco Ballí Cavazos

The lineage above shows that Francisco and Manuel are brothers. Francisco was granted "La Barreta". However, Francisco sold this land on March 23, 1804 to his brother Manuel.

In the late 17th century the honorable, Francisco Ballí Villarreal was the chief justice of the Nuevo Santander Province. The region is now the northern states of Mexico (Tamaulipas & Nuevo Leon) bordering Texas along the Rio Grande.

Francisco petitioned the King of Spain, Carlos IV for new lands to move the township of Reynosa to higher ground because it was prone to devastating floods every time the Rio Grande overflowed. Before the King could comply, the Rio Grande overflowed again, inundating and destroying Reynosa. Don Francisco donated land of his own to establish a new township (present day Reynosa) on dry and higher ground. In appreciation for this the King bestowed on him a land grant to the north, which was later named “La Barreta”. Due to his many obligations as chief justice of the area and the management of a vast amount of land and stock Francisco could not dedicate the time or resources necessary to properly administrate La Barreta. On March 23, 1804 he sold it to his brother, Manuel Ballí Villarreal for the sum of 200 pesos. Shortly thereafter in or about 1817 (date not confirmed) Manuel died intestate. During that period Texas cattle barons such as Richard King and Miflin Kenedy were amassing their vast empires recognizing the value of possessing large tracts of land like La Barreta. In 1898 began a series of leases of La Barreta between the Ballí and Kenedy family that continued to October 1999.

Today the Ballí Family and the Kenedy Foundation are currently engaged in a dispute as to ownership of La Barreta. We are the heirs of JOSE MANUEL BALLÍ VILLARREAL and we are saying the land belongs to us....... What we want is the truth in history.

President: Fred B. Ballí
Vice President: Ricardo P. Ballí
Historian: Joe G. Ballí
Canvasser: Danny B. Ballí
Web Master: David Ballí

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