The Drings of Warboys - The Over Branch
Nathanial's home - Pilgrim House in Over, Cambridgeshre, England.
Johnson N. Dring was born in Warboys, Huntingdonshire, England, on November 6, 1777. He was the son of Oliver Dring and Eleanor Johnson, thus his given name. He was the first of several "Johnson Dring’s" amongst our ancestors. Johnson married Elizabeth Nunn on September 26, 1803. Elizabeth was born on October 24, 1785 in Over, Cambridgeshire, England and that is where they were married. Elizabeth was daughter of John Nunn and Alice Osborne.
Johnson and Elizabeth had 13 children, all of whom were born in Warboys, with perhaps the exception of their last child, Robert, whose birthplace and date we cannot verify. I’ve always found it interesting that they named their first child John Nunn Dring, their seventh child John Dring, their eighth child Johnson Dring, and their tenth child Jonathan Nunn Dring and they all lived long lives. Quite unimaginative, don’t you think? Or egotistical, perhaps!
At some point in time Johnson and Elizabeth moved to Over where they, and many of their children, lived and died. Of their 13 children, it was their seventh and eighth children, Johnson and Nathaniel, that immigrated to the United States where the lived the remainder of their lives. Below you will see a partial descendant chart for Johnson N. Dring.
Nathaniel Dring is my ancestor and I have more information on him and his family than I do the others. Nathaniel was born June 29,1817 in Warboys. He married Phoebe Hutchinson on September 20, 1844 in Matlock, Derbyshire, England.
You may recall that I mentioned above that Nathaniel’s grandmother was Alice Osborne. When her husband John Nunn died, Alice remarried to Nathaniel Gifford. They had a daughter, Alice Gifford, thus making Elizabeth Nunn and Alice Gifford half sisters. Alice went on to marry Stoakley Hutchinson and they had a daughter, Phoebe…who married none other than Nathaniel Dring. So Phoebe and Nathaniel had the same grandmother. This discovery may account for the many peculiarities in our family!
Nathaniel and Phoebe had 10 children, nine of whom lived long lives. The tenth died at the age of 16. This was unusual for that day and age when many children died in infancy. In fact, their mother was the first of the entire clan to pass away in 1870 in Over.
The passing of Phoebe is an interesting story. A band of gypsies named Smith, carrying a contagious illness with them, traveled into Over. Like other villages, the citizens of Over were turning them away. Nobody wanted a contagious disease in his or her community. But Nathaniel had sympathy for them and said they could stay on his land, as long as they didn’t come near his family, so as to quarantine the disease. However, Phoebe decided she would nurse them. It was the mother who was the most ill. Boys being boys, one of the gypsy Smith boys climbed up a tree and made friends with Nathaniel Hutchinson, who was hanging out his bedroom window. They were both in their late teens at that time. The ill mother was nursed back to good health, but Phoebe got sick in the process and died. Many years later, Nathaniel Hutchinson was living in Chicago, Illinois in the USA and heard there was an evangelist who had come to town by the name of Gypsy Smith. He took his daughter, Daisy Dora, with him to see Gypsy Smith preach. Afterward, Nathaniel and Daisy approached the stage. When Gypsy Smith saw Nathaniel, he broke down in tears and hugged Nathaniel. They were the two boys who came to know each other years before in Over, England. When Gypsy was introduced to Daisy, he got down on his knees and explained to her that it was her grandmother, Phoebe, who died to save Gypsy Smiths’ mother’s life.