Sharing the Common Wealth showcases objects, artifacts, documents, structures and buildings from the collections of PHMC.

The Reverend Darius S. Steadman (1831–1907), born in Columbus, Warren County, along U.S. Route 6 in Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier, was licensed to preach in 1857. He served congregations in Clarion County before being commissioned, on October 7, 1861, a captain and chaplain of the 105th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry (PVI) known as the Wild Cat Regiment. The unit was raised in Jefferson, Clarion and Clearfield Counties to fight in the American Civil War.

During Steadman’s brief stint in the military the 105th PVI participated in the Battle of Williamsburg fought on May 5, 1862, and the Battle of Fair Oaks (or the Battle of Seven Pines) on May 31 and June 1, 1862. Both engagements were part of the Peninsula Campaign, a significant Union operation launched in southeastern Virginia from March through July 1862.

At the Battle of Williamsburg Steadman captured an Alabama colonel and confiscated his wallet, which is now in the collections of Drake Well Museum and Park, Titusville, Venango County. In addition to the wallet, the Darius S. Steadman Collection at the museum – administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) in partnership with the Friends of Drake Well as a destination along the Pennsylvania Trails of History – includes his commission, a brief family genealogy, correspondence, a portrait of him, his wife and their daughters and a frying pan he used during the Peninsula Campaign. Steadman continued using the frying pan after mustering out of service.

Typhoid fever ravaged the unit and a very ill Captain Steadman resigned his commission shortly after the Battle of Fair Oaks on June 23, 1862. His convalescence lasted for months.

Upon his recovery the Erie Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church appointed Steadman to serve at Forestville, N.Y., in 1863–1864, followed by an assignment in Plumer, Venango County. After realizing souls needed to be saved in the oil region’s boomtown of Pithole City – notorious for its saloons, brothels and taverns – he established a church there in July 1865. He raised funds by riding to Franklin, the Venango County seat, to turn in individuals selling liquor without a license for which he received a portion of the fines. Pithole City, now a ghost town, and the McClintock Well No. 1 are administered by PHMC.

Jon Sherman of Titusville, a Steadman descendent, donated the frying pan to Drake Well Museum and Park in 2001.