Hilliard Judge Shands was a son of Abraham Shands and Mary (Polly) Wilson.
The Shands and the Wilson families had both come from Virginia. HJ's father Abraham died when HJ was two, and his mother remarried a Mr. Toal. When he was 10, HJ and his brother Almeran ran away from home and went to relatives. HJ "read medicine" with the famous Dr. Ira L. Foster of Georgia, travelling to Nicaragua at one point. In 1843 he settled in Summerville (now called Gholson), Mississippi. He married Melissa Penry there. On September 1, 1848 he patented a land grant in Columbus, Winston Co., Miss., signed by James K. Polk US President.
"Gold fever" took him to California in 1849, with his brother-in-law Newton Penry. After a year, HJ returned and named his next baby daughter Caloma California after the town where gold was first struck.
In the Civil War, he attended the sick and wounded after the battle of Shiloh in Tennessee. The Shands and Penry families moved on to greener pastures in the fall of 1865, to Texas. They were in Kaufman Co. in 1868, and settled finally in Forney, Tx. in 1875.
HJ and Melissa had 5 children, all born in Mississippi: