Portrait from "100 Golden Years: A Brief History of Golden, Illinois, 1863-1963".
Lifelong Adams County, Illinois resident Harmannes Behrend "H.B." Ihnen rose to become one of that county's most honored sons, being elected to nine terms as its representative to the Illinois General Assembly between 1946 and 1966. A former township supervisor and member of the Adams County Board of Supervisors, Ihnen gained additional prominence in agricultural circles, being a longtime member of the Adams County Farm Bureau and was vice chairman of the State Board of Agricultural Advisors.
Born of German extraction in Camp Point, Illinois on July 19, 1895, Harmannes Behrend Ihnen was the son of Behrend Gerdes and Bertha (Kollman) Ihnen. Referred to by most sources by the initials "H.B.", Ihnen resided on a farm during his youth and would attend schools local to Camp Point and at La Prairie, Illinois. A graduate of the Camp Point High School, Ihnen married in 1917 to Ethel Keppner (1899-1995). The couple's near six-decade union saw the birth of one son, Ernel Dean Ihnen (1926-1992).
A farmer in Adams County for the majority of his life, H.B. Ihnen was for over two decades a member of the Adams County Farm Bureau, as well as an insurance agent. By the late 1940s he had firmly established his name in the civic affairs of his native county, being a charter member of the Golden, Illinois Lions Club; a member of the executive committee of the Adams County Chest and Welfare Association; board chairman of the Golden, Illinois Fire Protection District; a member of the Quincy, Illinois City Planning Commission; and was vice chair of the Golden Locker Co-op board of directors.
Ihnen first entered state politics at the local level, serving as township supervisor of North East Township for over a decade, and for three years served as chairman of the Adams County Board of Supervisors. In 1946 he launched his candidacy for the Illinois House of Representatives from the 36th district (comprising Adams, Calhoun, Pike, and Scott County) and that November won out at the polls, garnering 8,053 votes. Ihnen's first term (1947-49) saw him named to the committees on Industry and Labor Relations; Municipalities; Personnel and Pensions; Public Aid, Health, Welfare and Safety; and Revenue.
From the 1947-48 Illinois Blue Book.
In November 1948 Ihnen was defeated in his bid for reelection. Two years later he again became a candidate for the house of representatives and was successful, besting his two opponents by a substantial margin. The 1951-53 session saw Ihnen sit on the committees on Insurance; Municipalities; Public Utilities Railroads and Aviation; Revenue; and Roads and Bridges. From 1952 to 1962 Ihnen was continually reelected to the legislature and this uninterrupted ten-year span was later lauded in the Jacksonville Courier, which denoted his "100% attendance and past record". These five terms saw Ihnen named to several new house committees, including Agriculture; Education; Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulation; and Waterways, Conservation, and Fish and Game.
From the Jacksonville Courier, November 6, 1960.
H.B. Ihnen wasn't a candidate for reelection in November 1964 but returned to politics two years later when he was elected to his ninth legislative term in November 1966. The 1967-69 session saw Ihnen as a member of the Appropriations and Highway & Traffic Safety committees, as well as being chairman of the state Motor Vehicle Laws Commission. Ihnen retired from the legislature at the conclusion of his ninth term but continued to be active in government service, being appointed to the State Board of Agricultural Advisors in 1969. From 1971-74 Ihnen served on the Agricultural Export and Advisory Committee for the state agriculture department and in July 1975 celebrated his 80th birthday.
After over four decades of service to his native county and state, Harmannes Behrend Ihnen died at Quincy, Illinois hospital on August 12, 1975. He was survived by his wife of fifty-eight years, Ethel, and son Ernel. Following her death at age 96 in 1995, Ethel Ihnen was interred alongside her husband and son at the Friedhof (Trinity) Cemetery in Golden, Illinois.
From the Alton Evening Telegraph, June 10, 1966.