William Oliver Dring of Radford, Nottingham -1920s-30s
William Oliver Dring was born in 1876, in Nottingham -the town to which his father and mother, Clark and Emily Dring, had come in the early 1870s. Clark Dring was a Huntingdonshire man and it seems that it was in this county (and its neighbours, particularly Cambridgeshire) that his ancestors had lived for many centuries.
The land of the free
To try to help him get back on his feet, the brother of William Oliver’s first wife’, (John Ward, superintendent of a knitting mill in Pelham, Carolina) suggested he should take Alf and Kit to America and start a new life over there. Presumably, my grandfather intended that his new wife Anne, and their other children, Violet and Hilda, should follow him when he had established a home there.
John Ward also no doubt thought that his brother-in-law might be able to repeat his own success. John had run away from his Carlton home in 1873 and stowed away at Liverpool on a ship bound for America. Although he was discovered during the voyage, 16-year-old John somehow reached America and went to work in the textile industry. At the age of 23 and a recently married man, he moved to Pelham to take over the job of superintendent at the Pelham knitting mill and it was there that he and his descendents remained.
Thus it was that, sometime prior to 1910, William Oliver Dring and his two surviving children by his first wife -AIf and Kit- sailed for America. With the intention of establishing a new and better life for the whole family, they headed for the plantation in South Carolina owned by his Ward brother-in-law where his daughter Kit was destined to stay until she was 16.
The return to England
My grandfather didn’t have much luck in America, for all his money and belongings were stolen soon after his arrival and eventually, he decided to return to England. This was easier said than done for a person with no money. However, "where there’s a will there’s away" and by working his passage "on a cattle boat", he and Alf are believed to have returned to England sometime between the 20th and 30th of July 1910 passing on the way (according to my mother) the ship carrying the infamous murderer Dr Crippen.
Once back in England, he took the whole family (with the exception of Kit who remained in America) to live with his sister Lizzie, in Coventry. The family lived in Coventry from 1910 until about 1912/13 during which time WOD worked in his brother-in-law’s coal merchants business. At or about the birth of William and Anne’s second daughter Olive, they decided to return to Nottingham.