Colonel James Wood, the founder of Winchester, was a native of the ancient city of the same name in England. He laid out and founded the new town prior to 1740. It received a charter of incorporation from the colonial legislature in February 1752.
Colonel Wood was the first surveyor of the county of Orange, from which the new county of Frederick was carved by authority of an act of the House of Burgesses passed in 1738. Upon the formal organization of Frederick County, in 1743, he was commissioned by the Governor of the Colony of Virginia to act as the first clerk of Frederick Couny, an office which he held until his death on November 6, 1759.
Under his supervision the first court house for Frederick County was built. It stood upon the site of the present structure and was, in fact, the first court house erected west of the Blue Ridge. During its construction the office of the county clerk was held in a building on the lawn of his residence, "Glen Burnie," built by him in the western suburbs. This mansion, still in the possession of lineal descendants, illustrates one of the types of pre-Revolutionary architecture in Virginia. The first seal of the court of Frederick County, still in occasional use, is represented upon this tablet.