James B. Woods, the third representative of the Municipality of Liberty to sign the Texas Declaration of Independence, was born on January 21, 1802 in Kentucky. He arrived in Texas in 1830 and settled in the Atascosito Libertad area of Mexico (now Liberty, Texas). Woods was among the earliest lawyers to practice in the Liberty District and was known as a brilliant lawyer and speaker. On January 25, 1831, Woods was granted a half a league at this site.
Due to his education, background and profession, Woods easily became involved in politics and, in 1834, was elected Alcalde (Mayor) of the Liberty District. He represented the District at the Consultations of 1835 and, in March 1836, was one of five delegates representing Liberty at the Washington-on-the-Brazos Convention. On March 11, 1836, 34-year-old James B. Woods was one of the men who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. In addition to his civic duties, Woods also served in the Texas Army, Franklin Hardin Company from July 7 to October 7, 1836. He then returned to Liberty and his family to resume his law practice.
In 1838, Woods ran an unsuccessful campaign for Congress against his brother-in-law, Hugh B. Johnston. That same year, he married Mary Ann White (b.1822), daughter of former Mayor Matthew G. White. James and Mary Ann had three children. In 1851, James
Woods killed Alexander Buxton over an election quarrel, and was said to have been remorseful. Tradition states that he was killed or took his own life. He was buried in the White Family Cemetery, three miles southeast of Liberty, with members of his family and neighbors.