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    Juan José Balli. 1797 Legal Document Relating to a Lawsuit Over a Mule. One and a half pages, 8" x 12.25", Spanish text, Reynosa, April 5, 1797, with stamped and holography docketing, paper slightly toned and with the usual old fold creases; else, a fine document.

    In his book Los Mesteños, Jack Jackson writes: "As close to being 18th century cattle barons as anyone could be in this territory that is now Texas... vast empires in the brusada country between the Rio Nueces and the Rio Grande... perhaps none of these dynasties was greater than one started by Juan José de Hinojosa...". Juan José Balli was the son of José Maria Balli and Rosa Hinojosa de Balli - the daughter of cattle baron Juan José de Hinojosa and a "cattle queen" in her own right. Two of José and Rosa's sons carried on the family ranching tradition and a third was a priest, Padre Nicolás for whom Padre Island was named. In this document, son Juan José Balli, in his capacity as Captain of the Urban Militia and Chief Justice of Reynosa, provides certification of a lawsuit brought by Pablo Ponce against Juan Castaneda "for the value of a dun burro with one ear clipped and carrying on the other ear a marker, which Castaneda sold to Ponce. That Castaneda presented three witnesses on his behalf... Testimony by them is that Castaneda had good title to the burro...". The document is signed by Balli and two others.

    This is an interesting and scarce document with lineage to the early ranchers in south Texas. From the Taking of Texas Collection.

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    June, 2008
    14th Saturday
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