In 1894, oil was found at Corsicana. Oilman Joseph S. Cullinan moved his operations from Pennyslvania and founded the J.S. Cullinan Company (later renamed the Magnolia Petroleum Company) in 1898 – the first pipeline and refining company in the state. He further contributed to the Corsicana oil industry by introducing ways to increase oil consumption in the days before widespread use of the automobile. Cullinan became a client of the law firm of McKie & Autry.
When Cullinan moved to Beaumont to follow the oil boom he asked his lawyers to go with him. McKie refused, but Autry agreed to take up all of Cullinan’s legal affairs. The Autry family moved to Beaumont. The Texas Fuel Company was organized with principal stockholders Cullinan, Autry, Arnold Schlaet, James Stephen Hogg, and John W. Gates. It was later reorganized, infused with more capital from eastern backers and renamed the Texas Company under the legal guidance of Autry.
Autry drew up the incorporation papers and from its inception to November 25, 1913, Autry was secretary, director and general attorney. In 1907 the principal families moved to Houston as Cullinan planned to make use of the ship channel. This move helped establish Houston as the epicenter of the oil industry in the southwestern United States.
The directors of the Texas Company were united in the belief that its headquarters should remain in Texas and not have absentee ownership. However, this was never put into writing and in 1913 a proxy fight removed J.S. Cullinan as president and shifted control to eastern stockholders.
Autry and William C. Hogg resigned and created their own oil company called the Farmers Petroleum Company. In 1915, Autry suffered a massive stroke and lost most of the use of his right side. He spent the last five years of his life seeking rehabilitation.