Much Loved Local Legend ‘River Dave’ Now In A New Hampshire Jail
Well, this looks like a no-win situation for all involved. But what a story it is.
81-year-old David Lidstone, otherwise known by the locals who paddle along the Merrimack River in Canterbury as "River Dave," had been living in a well-sized makeshift home on private property for almost 30 years when he was suddenly taken by authorities and thrown in jail.
Mr. Linstone claimed up and down that the prior owners had told him that he could live there, even though he had nothing in writing.
As of Wednesday morning, the Air Force veteran was holed up in jail on a civil contempt sanction.
The new owner of the 73 acres of woods just a few miles from Interstate 93, who is 86 years old, wants River Dave off the property for a variety of reasons, including selling the wood for income. "I just want my land back", he told local media.
The town has concerns that include septic waste disposal and the potential zoning violations that are created by the River Dave's homemade structure, according to the Associated Press.
Yesterday morning River Dave told a judge, "You came with your guns, you arrested me, brought me in here, you’ve got all my possessions. You keep ’em. I’ll sit here with your uniform on until I rot, sir.”
If you watch the video below you'll learn a lot more about River Dave, who unlike the hermit arrested in Maine a few years back had never broken into anyone's camp to steal things.
With two chickens, a cat, and a homemade beehive for company, River Dave had built a solar-powered structure there in the woods, using a stream for drinking water and to feed his elaborate garden.
River Dave told a reporter from WMUR-TV that he came down with Lyme disease a few years back and that it had laid him up for a few months, but he had never thought about leaving his home there in the woods beside the river.
When the reporter asked him why he moved into the woods to live alone, River Dave chuckled and quickly answered, "To get away from people like you."