Mt. Sterling Station (Church) [Colored Members]
Prior to establishing Keas Tabernacle Church in 1878 in Smithville [Montgomery County], KY, Rev. William H. Miles was the pastor of the colored church named Mt. Sterling Station. The earlier Mt. Sterling Station Church, led by white members, existed in 1839, and according to the 1840 Minutes of the Annual Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church, for the years 1829-1839, Volume II, p. 85, the Mt. Sterling Station Church was within the Kentucky Conference. Its total church membership of 251 persons included 167 whites and 84 enslaved colored individuals.
In 1867, following the end of the Civil War and enslavement, the former enslaved members of the Methodist Episcopal Church separated from the parent church and organized the Kentucky Colored Conference, the second annual conference established by former enslaved members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
At the 1869 Kentucky Colored Conference, held in Winchester, KY, Rev. Miles was named the Presiding Elder of the Mt. Sterling District and pastor of the newly formed Mt. Sterling Station Church for the colored people.
In 1870 Rev. Miles was one of the reserve delegates of the Kentucky Colored Conference, where he was named Sunday School Agent and Missionary Supervisor for Kentucky. He was elected a bishop of the newly established Colored Methodist Episcopal Church (CME) that year. Eight years later the Mt. Sterling Station Church for colored people was renamed Keas Tabernacle Church in honor of Samuel G. Keas, Bishop Miles' friend and cohort. Keas also became the new pastor at the church. It was Keas, a formerly enslaved man from Montgomery County, who had been named pastor of the CME Center Street Church in Louisville in 1869, and it was he who was able to regain possession of the church building from the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (AMEZ), the move putting an end to an ongoing controversy between the two churches.
For more see The History of the CME Church (Revised), by O. H. Lakey.