Henn was born in Cherry Valley, New York in 1817. He attended the common schools and moved to what is now Burlington, Iowa, then capital of Iowa Territory, in 1838. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in Burlington. He later moved to Fairfield, Iowa, when he was appointed register of the United States land office in 1845 by President James K. Polk.
In 1850 he was elected to represent Iowa's 1st congressional district in the U.S. House. While he was officially considered a Democrat, a hostile editor of the first Burlington newspaper (James G. Edwards of the "Hawk-Eye") labelled him a "Locofoco," a slang term for a radical faction of the Party. He initially served in the Thirty-second Congress. After he ran for, and won, re-election in 1852, he served in the Thirty-third Congress.
In December 1854, Henn tried and failed to win election in the Iowa General Assembly to the U.S. Senate, losing to James Harlan. Meanwhile, Augustus Hall, another Democrat, had won election to Henn's House seat. In all, Henn served in the U.S. House from March 4, 1851 to March 3, 1855.
After leaving Congress, Henn engaged in banking and dealing in real estate. He died on August 30, 1865 in Fairfield. He was interred there, in Evergreen Cemetery.
- "Iowa Election," Burlington Hawk-Eye, 1859-08-15 at p. 2.
- "Legislative Proceedings," Burlington Tri-Weekly Hawk-Eye, 1854-12-28 at p. 2.
- Bernhart Henn at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Bernhart Henn at Find a Grave
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Daniel F. Miller
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 1st congressional district
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