James A. Wood was born in New Hampshire around 1824. He married Rebecca D. Pillsbury (b. ca. 1835) of Boston, Massachusetts, on October 24, 1855, and worked as a farmer. The couple had four children: Helen Elizabeth (November 12, 1856-October 2, 1933), Albert H. (b. ca. 1859), Mary K. (b. ca. 1863), and George P. (b. ca. 1866). Rebecca D. Pillsbury had at least three sisters and one brother: Sarah, Lizzie, Katherine (m. Bragg), and Joshua. Sarah Pillsbury had at least three children: Mary Ella, Fannie, and Addie.
James and Rebecca had several other relatives who were frequent correspondents, including Caroline E. Wood, Mary Ann Wood, and a woman named Carrie. Caroline E. Wood was a schoolteacher in Syracuse and Buffalo, New York, during the 1840s-1860s. Little is known about the Woods' children. Helen Elizabeth Wood remained unmarried and George Wood moved around the East Coast, living for a time in Washington, D. C., and eventually settling in Lebanon, Connecticut. George and Albert Wood both married women named Mary, and George Wood had a son named James.