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Integrity, intelligence and system are qualities which will advance the interests of any man or any profession, and will tend to the prosperity to which all aspire. The life of Judge James P. Wood in the professional arena has been characterized by intelligence, integrity, sound judgment and persevering industry. He is one of Cleburne County’s most popular and capable attorneys, who has acquired prominence because he is worthy of it. He was born on a farm in Barbour County, Ala., in 1843, a son of James and Nancy (Byrd) Wood, who were born, reared and married in the Old North State, and in 1830 moved to Barbour County, Ala., where they both died when fifty-two years of age. The father was prominent in the Democratic circles of Alabama, and also stood high in Masonry and mercantile and agricultural circles.
Judge James P. Wood was the eighth of nine children born to his parents, and received his education in the Military Academy of Clayton, Ala. Early in 1861, before Alabama had succeeded from the Union, he had joined the Clayton Guards of the First Alabama Infantry, and was stationed at Pensacola for one year. At the reorganization of the Confederate Army, in 1862, he became a member of Company B, of the Thirty-ninth Alabama Infanty, and held the rank of second lieutenant. On July 28, 1864, when he was wounded at Atlanta, he was in command of his company. During his service he was in many battles, among which were Fort Pickens; Mumfordsville, where he was on picket duty, and when that place was surrendered he received the flag of truce; Lawrenceburg, where he had charge of a body of sharpshooters; Murfreesboro, where he commanded a body of sharpshooters; Mission Ridge; Chickamauga, and was in the many engagements from Dalton to Atlanta. From that time on he was with Johnson’s army until wounded, which disabled him for further duty. In 1865 it was his intention to join the forces of Maximillian in conquering Mexico, and for this purpose went to that country. Later he went to San Francisco, Cal., and entered the law office of Quint & Hardy, where he remained three years, then returned east as far as Hickman, Kentucky, and continued the study of law under John A. Lauderdale, where he was later admitted to the bar. After spending one year in Alabama he returned to San Francisco, Cal., and there practiced his profession for some time, then returned to his native State and located in Birmingham and at a later period in Galveston, Texas. After a time he again returned to his native State, but in 1874 took up his residence in Pope County, Arkansas, and until 1884 practiced his profession in Russellville and Dover. Since that time he has been a resident of Heber, Cleburne County, and stands at the head of the county bar. He is well known for his eloquence before a jury, his convincing and logical reasoning, and as a criminal lawyer of far more than average ability. He has ever been a stanch Democrat, and is an active worker in the ranks and conventions of his party.
In December, 1884 he was married to Miss Lydia F. Bridwell, of Mt. Washington, Kentucky, an amiable and intelligent woman, and they have a pretty, comfortable and hospitable home. The Judge is a gentleman in every sense of the word, is kind hearted and charitable and has a high regard for the Christian religion, and for all that is good and true in this life.