‘Off-The Grid’ Man ‘River Dave’ Receives $180,000 Gift From Tech CEO After Fire Destroys His Cabin

“River Dave,” an 81-year-old man that has been living “off the grid” for nearly three decades got some welcomed news this week. He will be able to build a new home thanks to a generous donation.

David “River Dave” Lidstone had been living in the woods along the Merrimack River for 27 years. He cut his own firewood, grew his own food and lived in a cabin that he built with his own bare hands. (Story continues below.)

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That is until he was accused of squatting on the property and jailed. Shortly thereafter, his cabin was burned down. Authorities are still investigating the circumstances behind the fire.

‘Live Free Or Die’ Spirit 

After his jailing, ‘River Dave received an outpouring of support. Many saw in him the embodiment of New Hampshire’s motto “live free or die.”

In fact, Lidstone was defiant against the courts.

“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,” Lidstone told the judge.

Lidstone’s friends set up a crowdfunding campaign to help him. They could not expect how generous the donations would be.

Co-founder and CEO of Palantir Technologies Alexander C. Karp gave Lindstone $180,000.

Karp has a net worth of about $1.3 billion. What he doesn’t have are lavish spending habits.

He owns a property in Palo Alto, where Palantir is based. However, for the past 15 years, he worked from his barn in New Hampshire. Maybe some of River Dave’s spirit had rubbed off on Karp.

Deeply Humble Man

River Dave was defiant against what he perceived to be injustice by the courts. However, the tech CEO’s generous donation revealed what he really was – a deeply humble man.

“How can I express myself and my gratitude towards something like that? I start to tear up whenever I think about it,” River Dave told the Concord Monitor.

“For an old logger who always had to work, for anyone to give you that type of money, it’s incredibly difficult for me to get my head around.”

The donation will be used to build a new home for Lindstone, said Jodie Gedeon, Lindstone’s friend and the person behind the fundraising campaign.

“Right now we set up a trust for Dave and it’s going to be utilized to build him a new home,” Gedeon said. “We have this temporary house set-up for the winter but we’re not going to be able to build until spring.”



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