Thank you for your reply. You have put your finger directly on the main problem. There is no other evidence presently of a link between the Coles of Hartford and Plymouth. Nevertheless, the link cannot be dismissed outright, because there is no record of anyone in Hartford named Ryder during this period. Therefore the inventory record entry in John Cole's handwriting remains a puzzle that must be addressed.
Do you happen to have the death date and location for Elizabeth (Ryder) Cole, the wife of John Cole of Plymouth, from a primary or reliable secondary record? I have seen one unsourced internet record that stated her death occurred in Hartford. If that were true, it would greatly strengthen the theory that the families were interconnected.
I am somewhat familiar with the problem of John Cole of Hartford and his alleged father James Cole. There is enough circumstantial evidence at this point to tentatively identify John as his son, although well short of proof. If James Cole of Hartford were from Essex, England originally, that would fit in nicely with the origins of just about everyone else from Hartford and Farmington.
John Cole of Hartford did have a son named Job in England at the time of his death (1685). I will investigate the possible connection to the Eastham Cole family.
I appreciate your insights; any comments are welcome!
a descendant of Thomas Bird of Hartford, CTstevenbird1000@hotmail.com