On October 4, 1875, in the town of Pembroke, NH, 17-year-old Josie Langmaid went missing. After she didn’t show up for school, search parties were organized, and within 24 hours she was found - in two pieces. Someone had attacked and abused her on her way to school and severed her head from her body. About a week later, a woodcutter named Joseph Lapage was arrested, tried, and found guilty of her murder. He was hanged on March 15, 1878, in the state capital of Concord.
Back in Pembroke, Josie was laid to rest in a graveyard on what is now Pinewood Road. However, a simple funeral and interment wasn’t enough closure for the town. They erected a somewhat grisly obelisk near the spot where her body was found.
Located on Academy Road, right across the street from the Three Rivers School, the 15-foot-tall marker eulogizes Josie, but also goes into the sordid details of her death and discovery. It even gives directions to the place, or two places, where her head and body were found. To this day, at least one of the two spots is still marked with a short granite post some distance in the forest behind the monument.
Know Before You Go
The monument sits across from Three Rivers School on Academy Road.