For immediate release - Feb. 14, 2005
TAVARES — After four years of historical investigation into the President Abraham Lincoln assassination, Dr. Diane Kamp, director of Lake County museums, is set to share the fruits of her labor in a Lake County Historical Museum exhibit opening Friday, Feb. 18.
The project started with a 1920s era letter written by a Eustis gentleman that eluded to one of the suspected Lincoln assassination conspirators residing in Lake County. The letter piqued Kamp’s interest. After countless hours of research digging, she has identified as many as eight former Lake Countians that possibly were tied to the presidential assassination plot in one way or another.
“These connections aren’t actually fact, they are presumptions based on the information we have available,” Kamp said. “They are some fantastic stories. While I haven’t been able to prove them that doesn’t mean they are not true. My job as a historian and educator is to try to prove them right or wrong, but people can decide for themselves.”
According to Kamp, as many as five different people that eventually settled in the City of Eustis were somehow connected to the assassination. One of the more notable included A.C. Richards, Chief of Police for Washington, D.C., who chased John Wilkes Booth out of the Ford Theatre.
Kamp was able to track the eight people suspected to play a role in the assassination to Lake County through researching personal correspondence from those individuals and checking their names against other reference materials. Firsthand stories from some descendants and “old timers” also shed some light on the mysterious connection between Lake County and the nation’s Capitol.
There is always something new to see and do at the Lake County Historical Museum, 317 W. Main St., Tavares. For more information, call Kamp at (352) 343-9600.
Office: (352) 343-9609; Cell: (352) 455-0445