A Federalist, Woods served in the Virginia House of Delegates and was a member of the Virginia Convention of 1788. He briefly served in the Revolutionary War and later was an officer of the Virginia militia, attaining the rank of colonel before resigning in 1816. Woods was president and a director of the North Western Bank of Virginia. He owned a flour mill, traded whiskey and leased out land. One of the founders of Woodsfield, Ohio, Woods was a land speculator in the military warrant land in the Northwest Territory and bought public land in Ohio and Indiana in addition to having extensive holdings in West Virginia. He was also either a principal or involved in some way with lawsuits to either settle land disputes or to collect money. He promoted the building the Cumberland Road which passed through Wheeling.
From the guide to the Archibald Woods Papers, 1777-1893, 1783-1846., (Special Collections, Earl Gregg Swem Library, College of William and Mary)