The Benneville Hiester diary contains about 50 pages of short daily entries about his travels from Pleasant Township, Ohio, to St. Louis, Missouri, and back to Pennsylvania in 1853.
In January 1853, Hiester lived in Pleasant Township, Ohio, where he chopped wood and performed other tasks for local farmers. In his journal, he mentioned the names of those for whom he worked, as well as his work at a nearby poorhouse and his labor digging graves and building pig sties. On February 19, he visited Joseph Hiester and his son Daniel in Boylston, Ohio, and on March 7, he left Lancaster for Columbus, Ohio, where he boarded a train for Cincinnati with a companion named Jacob. Hiester noted the cost of his ticket and provided brief descriptions of his journey across Ohio and Indiana, including a stop at Vandala, Indiana, to visit acquaintances. On March 20, he and Jacob traveled on the "National Road" to Illinois, and they arrived in St. Louis, Missouri, on the 22nd. Hiester set out for Pennsylvania on the same day, paying $10.50 for a steamboat ticket on the Elephant , which traveled along Ohio River to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which Hiester reached on April 4. From there, he went to Harrisburg and then to his home near Bern, which he reached by foot on April 6. The final entries, which Hiester wrote regularly until May 1 and again from June 14 to June 22, concern the daily weather and his manual labor. The entry for June 21 mentions his work with tobacco.