John Shands II was the only son of John Shands and Elizabeth Averitt. Little is known of John Jr's youth but he received a fair education judging by his adult life. He doubtless was reared on his father's farmlands which his father inherited from his grandfather, John Robbards, but John Jr. also inherited farmlands willed him by his grandfather, William Shands.
An old family paper described John Jr. as "a typical Scotchman, tall, straight and commanding, alert in all things, standing for right, a good farmer, always kept plenty about him for his family, and ever ready to lend a helping hand to his neighbor. He taught school, was a member of the Meth. Church, and was a class leader. He made a success of independent industry and common sense."
In mature life he was a Methodist Exhorter, a dignified calling and one of very careful selection by the church. Old family papers, destroyed by a storm in the 1920's credit John Jr. as having participated in the Revolutionary War "in the battle of Yorktown and other battles fighting for liberty" and as having been a promoter of vigilence societies, but no documentary proof of these assertions have been discovered. He was a very well-to-do man as shown by for-sale advertisements in The Virginia Gazette in 1767 and 1769 for about 500 acres, houses, fruit trees, etc.
John's father died when he was 17 years old; his grandfather William Shands willed property to John II (and to William's son William II, as his male heirs).
John II married three times; his first marriage was to his cousin Phoebe Shands (his father, John had a brother named William II. Phoebe was William II's daughter). They had five children, but Phoebe died young.
Rebecca Lee was his next wife. They had two children, but then, she too died.
In 1785, John II received a land grant for two hundred acres in Spartanburg District of South Carolina. It was before 1784 that his family and several Shands relatives moved to Spartanburg, SC together. Third wife Margaret Castleberry and John II were married in Spartanburg, SC around 1785. They had seven children added to the seven children by John II's former wives. Needless to say, John II is considered the founder of the large South Carolina Shands clan.