Micajah Autry, Alamo defender, son of Theophilus and Elizabeth (Crumpler) Autry, was born in Sampson County, North Carolina, about 1793. During the War of 1812 he volunteered for service against the British at age eighteen. He marched to Wilmington, North Carolina, as a member of a volunteer company and later joined the United States Army at Charleston, South Carolina. He served until 1815. Afterward, when his bad health compelled him to quit farming, he became a teacher. Autry moved to Hayesboro, Tennessee, in 1823 and took up the study of law. In 1824 he married a widow, Martha Wyche Putney Wilkinson. They raised two children of their own and Martha's daughter by her first marriage. In 1828 or 1829 Autry was admitted to the bar at Nashville. He practiced law in Jackson, Tennessee, from 1831 to 1835 in partnership with Andrew L. Martin. In Tennessee Autry started an unsuccessful mercantile business with his law partner.
During business trips to New York and Philadelphia, he heard of opportunities in Texas. In 1835 he left his family and slaves in the care of Samuel Smith, his stepdaughter's husband, and set out for Texas by steamboat from Nashville, Tennessee. By January 14, 1836, he was in Nacogdoches, where he enlisted in the Volunteer Auxiliary Corps of Texas. His correspondence indicates that he set out for Washington-on-the-Brazos with David Crockett and others under the command of Capt. William B. Harrison. He arrived in Bexar with his company on or about February 9, 1836, and entered the Alamo with the garrison under the command of Lt. Col. William B. Travis on February 23. He died in the battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836. Autry was an amateur poet, writer, artist, and musician. A letter to his wife, dated February 11, 1834, is on display at the Alamo.