I’ve done some more digging in William Miles Bembry’s estate file, and learned the following:
A woman named Rose pops up several times in the file. She was apparently living on David Scarborough’s farm in Dooly County at the time of Miles II’s death. Scarborough was the husband of Penelope Bembry, daughter of Thomas and Miles II’s brother, John Bembry. He was also a lawyer.
Thomas Bembry took David Scarborough to court in order to retrieve Rose and then sell her. It appears that Miles II had a lot of debt at his death, and most of his estate was sold to pay it off—including slaves. Thomas spent a lot of time in court as administrator of the estate. This is one of several receipts for his expenses. It shows that he spent 12 days dealing with the case of “a Negro woman named Rose” in neighboring Dooly County.
I have no idea why Rose would have been living elsewhere. Perhaps she had been “hired out,” a common practice at the time. She may have had some particular skill, such as cooking or dressmaking that made her valuable.
Neither do I know why David Scarborough would have considered himself to be the owner. If his wife, Penelope, had been Miles II’s daughter, that might make sense. But she was not his daughter, she was his niece!
Thomas won the case, and Rose was sold by the Sheriff of Dooly County at an auction at the county courthouse for $630 on September 7, 1841. Unfortunately, I do not know who bought her. A record of the transaction may exist in Dooly County, however.
And that all I know of the story of Rose.