The Filhiol Family’s Claim to Hot Springs Arkansas

Did you know that Jean Baptist Filhiol and his descendants had a claim to the Arkansas Hot Springs? The fight in the courts lasted for generations, but ultimately it was denied.

The Times-Democrat (New Orleans, LA) February 24, 1890, Page 1


Louisiana Claimants to Hot Springs Reservation.

Special to The Times-Democrat.

            WASHINGTON, Feb. 23. – Representative Boatner has presented to Congress a very interesting memorial from a number of citizens in North Louisiana, as heirs of Don Juan Filhiol, who claim title to the Hot Springs Reservation in Arkansas, and ask that the matter be referred to the Court of Claims for examination and adjudication.  The memorialists are H. Filhiol, R.M. Filhiol, H.L. Watkins, Frank Bres, Julia M. Watts, Benedette H. Bress, Hattie C. Burch, C.C. Sanford, R.W. Fenner, H.H. Filhiol, Margaret A. Muse, Jerome Bres, Mary A. Bres, Mary A. Watts, Lizzie Sanford Cochran, R.R. Sanford, J.L. Sanford, F.A. Fenner.

            Mrs. Margaret Adelaide Muse testifies that she is the daughter of Narcisco Bourjeat and Marie Barbe Filhiol, and a granddaughter of Don Juan Filhiol, who was Spanish commandant of the post of Ouachita from 1783 to 1800, and to whom Don Estevan Miro, Governor of the Province of Louisiana, in 1788 made a grant of a league square of land in the District of Arkansas, so as to include the Hot Springs.  In 1803 Don Juan sold the tract of land to her father, Bourjeat, and in 1806 Bourjeat retroceded it to Don Juan.  The original grant papers to the land were lost to the Filhiol heirs until a few years since, when Mrs. Matilda E. Moore, a daughter of one Rezin P. Bowie, who about the year 1840 had been employed by the Filhiol heirs to prosecute and establish their title to the land, delivered to Mrs. Muse the original Spanish grant, saying that she had found it in an old trunk which had not been opened for years, among other relics of her mother, the wife of the aforesaid Bowie.[1]

[1] For more information on the lost grant, see Katie Prince Ward’s book, The Muse Family of Pointe Coupee Parish, pages 22 – 28. Also “Heirs of Don Juan Filhiol” here: .

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