Scope and Content
The collection contains business papers, correspondence, photographs, and memorabilia of the James Lockhart Autry family. Among the business papers are correspondence and legal briefs from the terms Autry served as general counsel to the Texas Company, president of Fidelity Trust Company, and vice-president and general counsel of the American Republics Corporation.
Family papers include correspondence from Autry's grandfather Micajah Autry (1792-1836) to his wife describing his travels to Texas. Micajah Autry came to Texas to fight in the revolution and died at the Alamo. Autry's father, James Lockhart Autry, served as Speaker of the House of Representatives in Mississippi and practiced law in partnership with Lucius Cincinnatus Lamar. A number of papers deal with this aspect of his career as well as his service in the Confederate Army in which he attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and was killed at the Battle of Murfreesboro on December 31, 1862. Also included are correspondence from Autry's mother, Jeanie Valliant Autry Brown to her immediate family.
The bulk of the collection pertains to James Lockhart Autry II's business papers, legal papers, numbered files, personal papers, memorabilia, and papers dealing with administration of his estate.
James Lockhart Autry, II was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi, on November 4, 1859. Educated in Mississippi schools for most of his life, Autry attended the University of the South on a scholarship before moving to Texas in 1876. He moved to Navarro County to undertake management of a ranch given to his grandfather's heirs for his part in the Texas Revolution.
Once established in Texas, Autry began the study of law in the offices of Judge Sam Frost in Corsicana, and was admitted to the bar in 1880 at the age of twenty-one. While still studying law in 1879, Autry served as enrolling clerk for the House of Representatives of the Texas Legislature and he served again in the sessions of 1880 and 1881. Autry began the practice of law in partnership with Richard Channing Beale; he retired from this partnership, however, to serve two terms as County Judge of Navarro County. He then formed a partnership with W. J. McKie which lasted until Autry left Corsicana to become General Attorney for the Texas Company in Beaumont.
The partnership of McKie and Autry served as counsel to J.S. Cullinan, an oil operator who moved into Corsicana with the oil boom of the area during the 1890's. After the dissipation of oil in the Corsicana area and the discovery of oil in the Spindletop - Beaumont area, Cullinan moved to the coastal town to form the Texas Fuel Company. For several years McKie and Autry continued to serve Cullinan, taking turns on leaving Coriscana to spend one or two weeks at a time in Beaumont. Finally in 1904 the partnership of McKie and Autry was dissolved with McKie staying in Corsicana and Autry moving to Beaumont as general counsel of the Texas Fuel Company.
A reorganization and expansion of the Texas Fuel Company in 1905 resulted in the incorporation of the Texas Company in which Autry was elected a director and became general attorney. The corporate headquarters were moved to Houston in 1908 when Spindletop began to decline and other fields down the Gulf Coast like Humble and Goose Creek began to produce. Autry again moved with the company. He remained with the Texas Company until November of 1913 when a dispute over management of the company became a major issue in a stockholders' meeting and a proxy struggle ensued. Cullinan with the open support of Autry and Will C. Hogg lost the battle and resigned as president and director. Autry and Hogg both resigned at this time.
Autry, Cullinan and Hogg then combined their capital and talents to form the Fidelity Trust Company, Farmers Petroleum Company, American Petroleum Company and Republic Production Company. Autry served as president of Farmers Petroleum Company, president of Fidelity Trust Company and vice-president and general counsel of the last two under the combined name of American Republics Company. In 1915 Autry suffered a stroke and he spent the last five years of his life a semi-invalid seeking rehabilitation and use of his right side. He died on September 29, 1920. He was survived by his wife, the former Allie Kinsloe, whom he married in 1896, a son James Lockhart Autry III, and a daughter Allie May Autry.
Allie Belle Kinsloe Autry was born in Corsicana, Texas in 1873. She married James Lockhart Autry II in 1896. Throughout her life she was active in philanthropic causes in Corsicana and Houston. In 1921 she donated money for the construction of a community house at Rice Institute. A memorial to her husband, Autry House served as social meeting place for students, faculty, and campus organizations at Rice Institute. She also donated $50,000 towards the establishment of a hospital school for children with tuberculosis, Autry Memorial Hospital School, as a memorial to her son, James Lockhart Autry III. She died in 1935.
James Lockhart Autry, III was born in Corsicana, Texas 1899. The only son of James Lockhart Autry II, he graduated from Rice Institute in 1921. After graduation he was the vice-president of the American Supply Company. He died after complications from appendicitis at the age of 23.
Allie May Autry Kelley was the second child of James L. Autry II and Allie Kinsloe Autry. She was born 1903 in Corsicana, Texas. She graduated from Rice Institute in 1925, the first woman in her family to attend college. As a student at Rice she was extremely popular, elected class vice president 1921-22 and 1924-25, queen of May Fete 1925 and was a lifelong supporter of her alma mater. She helped establish Autry Court, the Allie Kelley Dittmar lounge in the student center, and generously supported the Friends of the Fondren Library. She married Edward Watson Kelley in 1935 and had two children, Edward "Mike" Watson Kelley, Jr and Allie Autry Kelley Dittmar. She died in 1998 at the age of 94.