I have been researching my Cole ancestry and have taken it back to a Phillip Cole and Mary Hadley of Amesbury, Massachusetts who raised six children there in the years 1698 to 1712. Mary's parents were Samuel Hadley and Jane Martin also of Amesbury. Jane's parents were George Martin and Susannah North "the witch". There is an 18 year gap in the Amesbury Vital Records from 1668 to 1686 and that appears to be the reason why the births of the older children of Samuel and Jane Hadley do not appear. I have searched far and wide for mention of a daughter of Samuel and Jane named Mary but only recently came across a deed from December 17, 1714 that involves a transaction between Philip Cole of "Almsbury" and his wife Mary selling 1/3 of a 40 acre parcel to Ephraim Davis of Haverhill for the sum of 50£. In the transaction, Philip refers to the land as being the same land he purchased from his "honored father, Samuel Hadly" on March 26, 1707. I know father was sometimes used to describe a father-in-law relationship so I am making the assumption Mary's maiden name was Hadly. The Amesbury VR's show Elisabeth, b. Oct 10, 1688 as being the 4th daughter of Samuel and Jane. Who then were the three older ones? Most historical records name Esther (Hester) and Hannah but no third possibility. My theory is that Mary was probably born about 1678 and was roughly 18 when she married. Perhaps the most frustrating thing about this whole thing is that I cannot locate a marriage record for Philip Cole and Mary Hadley anywhere.
Can anyone shed more light on this family? Was it even a possibility in those times that the two were never married but rather were in a common-law relationship?