Micajah Autry 1793-1836
Micajah Autry, grandfather to James Lockhart Autry II was born in Sampson County, North Carolina, about 1793. As a teenager, he fought in the War of 1812. After the war he settled in Tennessee. He married Martha Wyche Putney Wilkinson, a widow. He raised her daughter from her first marriage and together had two children: James Lockhart Autry and Mary Autry Greer. He worked at various times as a teacher, lawyer, and merchant. On a business trip in the northeast, Autry heard of opportunities in Texas. Sensing an opportunity for a fresh start, Autry sent his family to live temporarily in Tennessee and set off for Texas.
On his journey west to Texas, he wrote to his wife, "I feel more energy than I ever did on anything I have undertaken. I am determined to provide for you a home or perish." (Excerpt from letter dated December 7, 1835.)
His journey coincided with the Texas Revolution and he joined the fight against General Antonio López de Santa Anna’s Army. Excerpt from letter dated Dec. 13, 1835: “the war is still going on favorably to the Texians, but it is thought that Santa Anna will make a descent with his whole force in the spring, but there will be soldiers enough of the real grit in Texas by that time to overrun all Mexico.“
He signed the Muster Roll at Nacogdoches, took the Oath of Allegiance and set off with his squad for San Antonio and the Alamo. He 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. Micajah Autry was immortalized as a hero and a defender of liberty in a portrait which hangs in the Alamo chapel.
On April 18, 1950, the Daughters of the Texas Revolution dedicated a portrait of Micajah Autry to the Alamo. The painting by John Francis Lewis, depicts Autry after firing at General Santa Anna.
Confirmation of his death appears in a letter from Nathanial G. Smith to his sister-in-law Amelia W. Smith. After his death, Autry’s widow, Martha Autry settled in Holly Springs, Mississippi. In 1846, the family received a land patent for 1,920 acres in Navarro county, Texas signed by Anson Jones, President of the Republic of Texas as a gift to the surviving family of Micajah Autry.