Hidalgo Co. Cemeteries of Tx

Submitted by (typed from records provided 
by surveyors)

Surveyed by Goldsby Goza and Fran Isbel on January 19 and 26, 1980.

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LOCATION: South of Donna. From Run, at intersection with FM 493, go east 3.3 miles. Turn south on dirt road .7 mile, crossing levee. Eurestes  Resaca is on east side on road, cemetery on west, about 200 feet away in sugar cane field.

SURVEYED: Goldsby Goza, Virginia Haynie, George Gause and Fran Isbell, June 1982. 

PERSPECTIVE: Cemetery is surrounded by hurricane fence, 45' x 66', with gate on north. Ranch owner allocated one acre for the cemetery, but it is now only one-eighth acre. Individual family members maintain it. Mr. Ray Balli of Donna very kindly had the cemetery cleared so it could be surveyed.  Contains four old bovedas, one of ranch founder. Burial is restricted to family members. For permission to enter, call Alejandro Balli Perez at  968-6187.

History: Antonio Balli Cavazos (1813-1887) founded the Balli or San Antonio de los Esteros Ranch about 1848, in the Llano Grande Land Grant of his great- grandfather, Juan Jose´ Hinojosa. The ranch was probably named after Balli's patron saint. His family name (variants Valli, Ballin) signifies "dweller in the valley." The family changed the spelling from Valli to Balli in the time of Maximilian so they would no be mistaken for Frenchmen.

The grandparents of Antonio Balli Cavazos, Matias Cavazos and Manuela Hinojos inherited her Share 2 (3325 varas or 9283 feet river frontage x 30,000 varas) of the Llano Grande Land Grant, where San Antonio del Esterito Ranch is located. They built a ranch house of mesquite wood and adobe and corrals close to the  Military Highway Later they moved south of the cemetery (about 1827). 

Their children, Ramon, Lino and Antonio inherited in turn. Antonia Cavazos  had married Manuel Balli. When she died, their son Jose´ Antonio Balli  Cavazos (1813-1887) acquired 1320.5 varas river front, a portion of which he inherited from his mother Antonia and the balance acquired by purchase from  his brothers and sisters.

San Antonio de los Esteros (or Esteritos) Ranch consisted of 7,000 acres or two square leagues and extended from the Rio Grande north six leagues or 18  miles. It contained two bodies of water besides the river frontage, enough to pasture large stocks of cattle. The Ballis also raised corn, beans,  squash and pumpkins for domestic use in the fields close to the Rio Grande. The small green pumpkins (calabazas) were customarily cooked with pork or  chicken or were candied.

According to Antoni's son, Manuel, his family owned and used the land since 1839. For a few years around 1838, they fled across the Rio Grande because of Indian raids.

Antonio Balli married Manuela Rubalcada in 1837, and they had eight children: Manuel (born in Mexico, 1838, died after 1903), Refugia, Antonio (1851-1913), Francisca Natividad, Primotivo, Maria Inez, Victoria (who married Benigno  Leal of Santa Ana Ranch), and Librada.

When Hidalgo County was founded in 1852, Antonio Balli registered the first cattle brand at the county seat, Edinburgh (Hidalgo) in November, a JAV  connected with flat circle over the A (in lieu of a C, which was already in  use by another family member). He inherited the brand from his father; Jose Antonio Balli had registered it in Reynosa as early as 1828.

When Don Antoni Balli died in 1887 (his widow died in 1897), the property was verbally partitioned among his seven children, each receiving 188.5 varas  river frontage. By 1913, most of it was sold to the American Rio Grande Land & Irrigation Company of Mercedes for land development.

The first Balli in America was Pedro Balli(1545-1600), a printer, of Salamanca, Spain, the son of Juan Valli and Catalina Rodriguez (not Mauricio and Francisca Valli as sometimes reported). He was educated in Salmanca and Strassbourg  (at that time in Germany). He sailed from Cadiz to Vera Cruz, Mexico, in 1569 , where he married Catalina del Valle. They had three sons. 

Balli was named fourth printer of the New World by royal decree of King Philip II in 1574. He spoke five languages fluently and interpreted for the viceroy. His printing house was located on the corner of Moneda Street and  Lic. Verdad on the plaza in Mexico City. This 400 year old, three-story  brick building is being restored by the Mexican government, and will become a museum, in accordance with a proposal by Dr. Gutierre Tibon of Cuernavaca, an Italian and internationally known writer. Balli produced over 60 books,  including some in native languages and others for the University of Mexico.
(A book written by Lic. Juan Bautista Balli of Mexico City in 1596 is in the University of Texas Pan American Library.)

Descendants of Pedro Balli II moved to Nuevo Leon. By 1750, Nicolas (1704 -  ) and Josefa Guerra de Balli were living in Sabinas Hidalgo, about 70 miles  north of present Monterrey. They had five sons, Jose´ Manuel, Bartolomeo,  Juan Jose´, Juan Antonio and Jose´ Mari´a Balli. During the colonization of Nuevo Santander by Jose de Escandon in 1749, Jose´ Mari´a Balli and Juan
Antonio Balli settled in Reynosa and became primitive settlers.

At the time of the General Visit to assign lands to settlers in 1767, Jose Maria Balli was one of the surveyors, and received portion 72. His brother, Juan Antonio Balli, received portion 13 on the south side of the Rio Grande. In 1800, because of continuous flooding of the original site, the Villa of 
Reynosa moved downstream 11 miles to land donated by the Juan Antonio Balli family.

Manuel Balli is probably descended from one of these Reynosa settlers,  probably from Juan Antonio Balli, since Jose Maria Balli and Rosa Maria  Hinojosa's sons were Juan Jose, Jose Nicolas and Jose Maria II.

At one time, the children of Antonio Balli Rubalcava planned to move to  Mexico, and sent their best livestock across the river. Baltasar, Claudina and Elvira began farming there, but the Mexican Revolution and depredations of their livestock made them return. Abelardo retrieved the branding iron.

At San Antoni del Estero Ranch, a one-acre plot was set aside for a family  cemetery. When Abelardo Balli prepared to sell his land to the American Rio Grande Land & Development Company in 1905, he called his sons together and they agreed to sell all the land except the one cemetery acre. (Land sold  for $2 to $2.50 per acre.) The family moved to East Donna and built a house.

The first family member buried in the Balli Cemetery was Atilano Pina in 1874 , the husband of Natividad Balli Rubalcaba. Ranch founder Antonio Balli and his wife, Manuela Rubalcaba, are buried in the cemetery, according to Mr.  Arturo Balli of Donna. The last Balli to be buried there was Apolonio Balli  Salaz (1869-1956).

Sources: Arturo and Maria Victoria Mora Balli of Donna and Fresno, California He is the grandson of Antonio Balli Rubalcava and son of Abelardo Balli.

Affidavit, Manuel Balli in Llano Grande Grant, Shares 3 and 4, p. 51, dated March 12, 1909.

ARGL&I Chain of Title, Llano Grande Grant, Share 2, 1913, Garcia, Clotilde.

Padre Nicholas Balli and Padre Island.



Nació´ 1813 Falleció Dic 6/7 (?) 1887
A la edad de 74 anos.
Sus hijos dedican este recuerdo Q.E.P.D.
(Note: Boveda; lived part of his life in Reynosa; married Manuela Rubalcava in 1837)

Antonio was at the ranch of Feb. 24, 1851
Baptized in Reynosa March 24, 1851
And died on Aug. 25, 1913
(Note: Grandmother buried temporarily on the west side - new white cross, 
daughter of Capitan Mu´noz, Manuela Mu´noz (Manuelita).
Cross made by Antonio Balli
Source: Alessardro Perez Balli, P O Box 292, Weslaco, Texas (date).

Nació Sept 30, 1881 Falleció Dic 23, 1946
Su esposo Julian Ortega dedica este recuerdo a su memoria D.E.P.

A04. and A05. (Fenced enclosure with A. C. de Balli on the enclosing
2 spaces)

A06. (Cement cross, probably 2 graves, painted, letters illegible)
Li..... Balli Falleció

Row B

Nació el dia 14 de Enero de 1880 Murio ed dia 11 de Febrero 1953.
Recuerdo de su esposa e hijos
(Large boveda with two angels and on lower a face of cristo brick
stuccoed over - Irene B. De Balli)

B02. (Unmarked grave - outlined by bricks)

B03. (Concrete cross, markings on front in illegible black paint)
Pablo (?) Balli ..... Nació .... 13 (?)
Falleció ... 1924 (?)

B04. (Small boveda with wooden cross, no top, no marking)
No body (?), a Balli from style of boveda

Nació el dia 4 de oct de 1866
Falleció el dia 26 de Julio 1922
Su esposa Albina Rodriguez e (sic)
hijos asen (sic) este recuerdo
Pina broken cross with iron crucifix

Nació y Falleció en Julio 4, 1909
Sus padres y hermanos dedica E.P.D.

B07. (Slab over grave)
Renc..... Casares (?) 1855 (Faces west)
1880 Murio 1-188.. Sus Duedos (?) Dedican
at base - R U C
(Note: Marry sunben probably unmarked grave there out)

Row C

March 12, 1840 Feb 20, 1927
Madre duerrne el sueno serno mientras
Tus hijos eloran tu eterno aurencia
Lopez with urn at botom
(Double enclosure marble/cement)

C02. (Unmarked grave)

Row D

D01. (Base of a cement marker (?).

Nació Feb 8, 1840 Falleció March 12, 1912

D03. (Cement cross fallen, no marking)

Aqui yacen los resto de Teodora H. de Benitez
Nació el dia 7 de Abril 1854 y Falleció
El 31 de Enero de 1908.
Sus hijos le consagran este homenaje
por el des canso de su alma. Amen.

D05. (Wooden cross, illegible)

Row E

Note: Fallen illegible marker (?). 
Several large fence posts and possible original fence.

E01. (Broken off marker)

Nació 24 Jun 1847 Falleció 13 May 1929
Recuerdo de sus hijos

Row F

F01. (Small wooden cross, no marking)

F02. (remains of a wooden cross, painted blue)

Nació Junio 2, 1899 Falleció Marzo 8, 1939
Un recuerdo de sus hijo Isaac Saabedra (sic)

Ano de 1898 Nació en Marzo 6
Falleció el 1927 agosto 10
Un recuerdo de sus esposo S.L.

Nació Jul 17, 1906 Falleció Abril 15, 1942
Recuerdo de sus hijos

Row G

G01. (Cement cross painted white/river, no marking)

Row H

H01. (Vacant)

Row I

I01. (A wooden cross headstone, no marking)

End of Balli Ranch Cemetery.