In 1862, the J.B. Cole & Son Funeral Home was established on the corner of Dorchester Avenue and Silver Street in South Boston, Massachusetts, one block south of where the MBTA’s Broadway station is located today. In those days, the hearse was a stately black carriage, drawn by black horses wearing plumed headgear.
Near the turn of the century, Harry O. Phillips, great uncle of Chapman, Cole & Gleason's current President went to work for Jabius B. Cole. Eventually, Philips purchased the business and moved it to Upham's Corner in nearby Dorchester, where he also operated a livery stable. The house Phillips bought at 490 Columbia Road, where it meets Bird Street, served as both his home and his place of business.
When Phillips died in 1938, his nephew Charles P. Chapman, who had been working with him, took charge of the firm. In 1950, Chapman purchased the R. & E. F. Gleason Funeral Home in Codman Square, merging the two businesses and the two names. Chapman built the J.B. Cole & Gleason Milton Home for Funerals in 1955. Cole & Gleason was the first funeral home in the town of Milton, where the Chapman family lived.
A History of Growth
Over the years, Chapman, Cole & Gleason has continued to grow and move with families. As people resettled outside of Greater Boston, we did too.
Chapman, Cole & Gleason established its branch in Falmouth Center in 1979. One year later, our family acquired the Jenkins Funeral Home in West Falmouth. It had been in operation since the 1940s, and was an excellent addition to the Chapman, Cole & Gleason family.
Sylvia Funeral Home, located in Vineyard Haven on the island of Martha's Vineyard, merged with Chapman, Cole & Gleason in 1983. A more centrally located, spacious facility was built in the Town of Oak Bluffs on the Vineyard in 1988.
In 1993, Chapman, Cole & Gleason established a branch in the Town of Wareham, merging with the Stott Funeral Home. Once again, Chapman, Cole & Gleason constructed a new, more spacious funeral home to serve the growing needs of the Wareham area. The Chapman family then assumed responsibility for serving the families formerly tended to by Cornwell Memorial Chapel when that funeral home closed in 1995.
The Town of Mashpee, which had experienced a substantial growth in population, during the 1990’s, became the company’s newest expansion effort in 2002. The new funeral home located on Route 151 was greeted with civic pride by the families and expanding community of Mashpee.
The Prophett Funeral Home located in Bridgewater and Wales–Prophett Funeral Home in East Bridgewater were purchased in 2008 and are today known as Prophett, Chapman, Cole & Gleason.
150 Years of Dedication to Families & Community
In 2012 – our 150th Anniversary year – Chapman, Cole & Gleason began the year by first acquiring another Cape Cod icon, the John-Lawrence Funeral Home in Marstons Mills, when its owner decided to ease into retirement. Then, in July, we sold our longtime Milton home to focus our energies and resources on serving the families near our other eight locations.
Since we have two funeral homes just south of Boston, as well as locations on the Cape & Islands and Southeastern Massachusetts, we are able to provide prompt transportation from all surrounding hospitals and airports.
Whatever location of Chapman, Cole & Gleason you visit, you will always find beautiful facilities, the best possible service, fair prices, and the absolute commitment of a community focused, family-owned and -operated business.
Chapman, Cole & Gleason is a member of the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) and the Massachusetts Funeral Directors Association (MFDA).