Granite State Stories: Murder of Pembroke schoolgirl stuns community

  • The Langmaid Homestead in Pembroke, an illustration from “The Murdered Maiden Student” by S.C. Keeler. N.H. Historical Society

Published: 10/27/2017 12:49:35 PM

Seventeen-year-old Josie Langmaid left for Pembroke Academy the morning of Oct. 4, 1875, but she never arrived at school.

Late that night, a search party found the teenager’s decapitated body in the woods. The shocking murder outraged and alarmed the community.

Local officials received a tip from the selectmen of St. Albans, Vt., who suspected a French Canadian immigrant named Joseph LaPage of a similar crime in their town the previous year. LaPage, an itinerant woodcutter with a violent reputation, had recently relocated to Suncook. He had no alibi for the morning of the crime, and Pembroke police discovered bloody clothing and razors in his residence. LaPage was eventually convicted of first-degree murder.

He made a full confession in March 1878, the day before he was executed. A monument commemorating the crime and Langmaid’s memory still stands in the woods along Academy Street in Pembroke.

N.H. Historical Society




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