Death Notice: John Perry Barlow
by Pinedale Online!
February 8, 2018
John Perry Barlow passed away on Wednesday, February 7, 2018 according to news reports. He was 70 years old.
While most know him as lyricist for the band the Grateful Dead, and his being an early advocate for internet rights, free speech and drug use, he also had deep roots in Sublette County, Wyoming, where his family settled and lived for generations. He was born in Sublette County, Wyoming on October 3, 1947 and grew up on the 22,000 acre Bar Cross Ranch in Cora, near Pinedale, Wyoming.
Barlow was the grandson of P.W. Jenkins, an early settler in Sublette County, and the son of Miriam Jenkins and Norman Barlow. Grandfather Perry W. Jenkins came to Wyoming in 1905 ultimately settling on the Bar Cross Ranch in Cora. By the late 1920s, John Perry’s grandfather had fifteen thousand acres and twenty-five hundred head of cattle in the Upper Green River Valley, as well as owning the drug store in Big Piney and manufacturing his own pharmaceuticals, identifying them with his brand, the Bar Cross. Grandfather Jenkins was active in politics and was a member of the Wyoming House of Representative, speaker pro tem in 1923, and a state senator. He ultimately became President of the Wyoming Senate. While in the Wyoming State House of Representatives in 1921, Jenkins introduced House Bill 17 creating the county of Sublette which passed the Wyoming State Legislature and was signed by Governor Robert Carey in 1921.
John Perry’s mother, Miriam, and her husband, Norman Barlow were married in 1929 and moved a year later to the family’s Bar Cross Ranch in Cora, which they operated together until Norman’s death in 1972. During that time, Miriam co-founded the Cowbelles in Sublette County, the ladies auxiliary of the American National Stock Grower’s Association. Like Miriam’s father, John Perry’s father Norman represented Sublette County in the Wyoming Senate for many years. He also served on the Upper Colorado River Commission and was President of the Wyoming Stock Grower’s Association.
Miriam and Norman had only one child, a son, John Perry. He took over the ranching operations for the Bar Cross Ranch in Cora when his father suffered a stroke. He helped run the family ranch with his mother upon Norm’s death in 1972. John Perry hosted the Grateful Dead band members at the Bar Cross in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a songwriter for the group. In 1988, the Bar Cross Ranch in Cora left the Barlow family when John Perry sold it to absentee owners.
John Perry was also the co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit organization that advocates for civil liberties in the digital age. Barlow started the organization with Mitch Kapor and John Gilmore in 1990. He remained on the organization's board and involved with EFF until his death. Barlow was also a cofounder, with legendary whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a free speech nonprofit started in 2012.
According to his biography on Wikiedia, John Perry Barlow was chairman of the Sublette County Master Plan Design Commission and served on the Sublette County Planning and Zoning Commission for many years. Later, he was one of five ranchers who administered water distribution in the New Fork Irrigation District in Sublette County, an area of nearly 100,000 acres serving about 35 ranchers.
John Perry Barlow traveled the world and ultimately settled in San Francisco, California, where he passed away in his sleep.
(Editor’s note: We’ll update this article if we receive information about a date for local funeral services. Thank you to Ann Chambers Noble for her contribution to information in this article.)
John Perry Barlow Wikipedia
Internet rights advocate John Perry Barlow dies By Sara Ashley, money.cnn.com, Feb. 7, 2018
Mourning John Perry Barlow, The Bard of the Internet By Steven Levy, Wired Magazine, Feb. 7, 2018
John Perry Barlow, Internet Pioneer, 1947-2018 By Cindy Cohn, Electronic Frontier Foundation, www.eff.org, Feb. 7, 2018
John Perry Barlow, Grateful Dead Lyricist and Internet Pioneer, Dead at 70 By Althea Legaspi, Rolling Stone, Feb. 7, 2018
It’s Been 20 Years Since This Man Declared Cyberspace Independence By Andy Greenberg, www.wired.com, Feb. 8, 2018
Cognitive Dissident By Tom Dickinson, www.motherjones.com, Feb. 3, 2003