Born: April 4, 1862
Died: Sept. 28, 1962
Known for: Known as the "father" of UC Davis, Shields formulated the idea in 1899 to place an agriculture school in the Central Valley. In 1905, he wrote most of the legislation to establish the college.
Background: Born in Hangtown Crossing (now part of Rancho Cordova), Shields grew up on a farm, graduated from Christian Brothers College (now high school) and studied law. A law partner of Hiram Johnson, Shields chose the bench while the fiery Johnson opted for politics, eventually becoming California's governor. Shields was elected to a Sacramento Superior Court judgeship in 1900 and held it until he retired in 1949 at age 87. Then for another dozen years, he traveled daily from his 23rd Street home to the law office he maintained downtown. In addition to his judicial duties, his diverse interests included his work as a co-founder of McGeorge School of Law and as an advocate of agricultural education and the improvement of California livestock. He was known for developing a notable herd of Jersey cattle.
A highlight: Shields Library at UC Davis is named for him, as is a Rancho Cordova elementary school.
In History's Spotlight profiles of Sacramento newsmakers were published originally in 2007 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of The Sacramento Bee. They were written by Anthony Sorci. Look for them every Sunday in Sac History Happenings.