I have been researching Thomas Bird of Hartford, CT, who died there in August 1662, for some time. The inventory to his estate was taken by Thomas Bunce and John "Coale."
It has been generally assumed that this particular John Cole is the same one who died in Hartford CT in 1685. He was a close neighbor of Thomas Bird on the Hartford-Wethersfield road in August 1662. His grandson, Nathaniel, who married Elizabeth Woodford, was brother-in-law to four of Thomas Bird's grandsons (three Birds and a North). So far so good.
At the very bottom of Thomas Bird's original inventory record, there is a notation (among several others) added by John Coale in his own handwriting: "Sold - a mare to Ryder". I've known of this notation for several years, but was unable to connect it with anyone named Ryder who lived in Hartford. Imagine my surprise when I found that the "other" John Cole, from Plymouth, MA, was married to Elizabeth RYDER of Yarmouth, MA in Nov 1667!
The most logical explanation behind the inventory note by John Coale is that he had sold a horse on behalf of the estate to someone else in Hartford, and the note was added to the original inventory document later. This action would not have been unusual in itself. The fact that he sold it to a person who apparently lived on Cape Cod at the time (and not necessarily Elizabeth, in fact more likely a brother or her father,) strikes me as more than just coincidence.
Moreover, the sale of 1662 or 1663 took place well before the marriage of John Cole (of Mass) to Elizabeth Ryder in 1667. That suggests a much more long term connection between the families of Hartford and Plymouth.
There are four possible explanations for this entry:
A. John Coale of Hartford is somehow related to John Cole of Plymouth; he therefore sold the mare to a family in Yarmouth associated with John Cole of Plymouth.
B. John Cole of Plymouth was the person who actually took the inventory of 1662.
C. It was a mere coincidence that John Cole of Hartford sold a horse to the Ryder family of Yarmouth, a family who lived more than 150 miles away, for unknown reasons.
D. There was another, hitherto unknown Ryder family in Hartford in 1662, unrelated to the family in Yarmouth.
Applying Occam's razor to the problem, the probability of C. or D. seems too far-fetched to entertain, although they are not impossible. B. is not very likely, because John Cole of Yarmouth would have been a bit too young at the time (IMO) to have been entrusted with this job, and there is no evidence that he ever lived in Hartford. Besides, there is too much other evidence that points to John Coale of Hartford as the person who took the inventory along with Thomas Bunce.
We are left then with the "A." scenario; that there is a hitherto unknown family connection between the Cole family of Hartford and the Cole family of Plymouth.
Thoughts, comments, etc.?