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Jenifer Cemetery

Amid tire ruts and overturned trees, on a wooded tract near Shady Side, Anne Arundel County, a single gravestone protrudes from the ground. Its sole companion is a footstone, but the grave that the stones mark is not not the only one.

The grainy marble headstone bears a simple inscription:

In memory of
Joseph Junefer Esq
who departed this life
August the 12th 1810
in the 37th Year
of his Age

Junefer is a variant spelling of Jenifer, the name of a prominent Maryland family. There is little information available on Joseph Jenifer. He was of European descent and he was orphaned at the age of 16. His father, Elisha, died by the time Joseph was 16. He was raised by his mother, Ann Mayo Jenifer (daughter of another locally prominent family) and he inherited the 200-acre tract, Crouchley's Choice, from his uncle John Mayo.

The 1860 Martenet map notes neither Jenifers nor Mayos fifty years after Joseph's death, but not all family names appear on this subscription map..

Two other graves—possibly those of Joseph's immediate family—lie immediately north of Joseph's grave. A shallow ditch around the graves defines a plot measuring approximately 40 ft by 20 ft. The grave adjacent to Joseph's is evident from the grave fossa, or depression, and wooden posts at either end. The farthest of the three survives merely as a depression. At some point in the not-too-distant past, vandals dug at whole next to Joseph's headstone. Whether or not they reached his remains could not be determined. A cluster of four grave fossae, and a possible fifth one, lie 60 ft to the north. If associated with the Jenifer cemetery, these graves either represent an associated or neighboring household or, more likely, the slaves owned by the Jenifers.Utility line construction in the early 1990s may have obscured the locations of additional graves in this cluster.

Martenet atlas of Anne Arundel County (1860); Denis Cemetery Overview  
Map of the Jenifer cemetery.