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Longtime Cabin of 'Folk Hero' Hermit Destroyed by Fire

New Hampshire authorities investigating blaze that wiped out home of David Lidstone, 81
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 5, 2021 11:40 AM CDT
Fire Destroys Cabin of 'Folk Hero' Hermit
This undated photo shows the shack that David Lidstone, 81, built and lived in for nearly three decades in the woods of Canterbury, NH.   (Jodie Gedeon via AP)

(Newser) – The New Hampshire State Fire Marshal's Office has opened an investigation into a fire that destroyed a small cabin where an off-the-grid hermit had lived for almost three decades, per the AP. David Lidstone, 81, lived in the woods along the Merrimack River and was known by locals as "River Dave." He was jailed on July 15 on a civil contempt sanction and was told he'd be released if he agreed to leave the cabin, which is on property owned by a Vermont man who considers Lidstone a squatter. Fire destroyed the cabin on Wednesday afternoon, and the investigation is expected to take a few days.

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Lidstone, who's originally from Maine, lived on a woodlot located a few miles from Interstate 93, north of the state's capitol city of Concord. He told a judge during a Wednesday court appearance that he had no desire to comply with the order to leave the cabin. Most of his possessions were removed from it before the fire. Lidstone's off-the-grid lifestyle has made him a folk hero in northern New England, and news of the cabin fire led to sadness and empathy among his supporters. Horace Clark, a cousin of Lidstone's who lives in Vermont, said the fire was "both sad and sick."

(Read more hermit stories.)

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