81-Year-Old Forced From His Cabin After Living In Woods For 30 Years
An 81-year-old man who has spent nearly 30 years of his life living in a cabin in the woods has been forced to leave.
David Lidstone, also known as ‘River Dave, a US Air Force veteran and father-of-four children, has been living near the Merrimack River in Canterbury, New Hampshire, for 27 years; caring for his cat and chickens, cultivating his own vegetables, cutting his own wood for heating and living happily, in part, thanks to the solar panels on his cabin. But he is now being chased off the land.
Dave was put behind bars on July 15 on a civil contempt sanction, accused of squatting on private land. A kind group of people has started a petition to save him from becoming homeless, raise money to pay for property taxes and get justice for a ‘local legend’.
The petition has thus far gathered more than 3300 signatures.
“He is a veteran a local legend a homesteader and most importantly human being. I’d like to petition for Dave to spend his years on the land. He’s always willing to help anyone coming down the river and he always has fresh produce or eggs for the campers
He shouldn’t owe anybody anything. The property he’s on has a verbal agreement that he could stay there for the remainder of his life but how ever there is no proof of it how ever he’s been on the piece of land for over two decades with no harm to anyone. Currently sitting in jail while they’re planning on tearing down his homestead and keeping him off the land that he has spent the last two decades on, and created himself,” it reads.
According to Dave, the land’s rightful owner had made a promise that he would not force him to leave.
Sadly, its new owner, Leonard Giles, 86, was not even aware of his existence until 2015. He was first asked by a judge to leave the land in 2017 but he refused to do so.
Modern-day hermit “River Dave” told a judge Wednesday that he will sit in jail “until my body rots” rather than give up his illegal home of 27 years. …https://t.co/zvEovCYOY2 pic.twitter.com/FwMTuEXNoi
— UnionLeader.com (@UnionLeader) July 29, 2021
Dave remains locked up.
“I will sit here until I rot, or I will go home,” Dave said, according to AP News.
His brother Vincent said:
“What they’re doing to him isn’t right for anybody, whether he’s my brother or anybody’s brother. He’s 81 years old. Leave him alone.”
Kayaker and friend of Lidstone, Jodie Gedeon, said:
“He’s just a really, really, big caring guy, and just chooses to live off the grid… it really is about humanity, it really is about compassion, empathy… he’s not hurting anybody.”
Sadly, Dave’s cabin was found burned down recently due to a fire of unknown origin.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office has been asked to investigate the cause of the fire.
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