DEVENS — Discovering close ancestral ties to colonial Massachusetts led Ft. Devens Museum’s guest speaker for July, Mark Deuger, to study especially the story of King Philip’s War.
Deuger shares what he has learned in a talk on July 20 at the Museum, 94 Jackson Road, starting at 1 p.m. as the Museum continues to open its doors to the public each third Saturday of every month from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
In his youth Deuger learned he was a descendent of John and Grace Fairbanks, who settled in Dedham in the 1630s, and that two of his ancestors, Jonas and Joshua Fairbanks, were killed during the Nipmuc tribe’s raid on Lancaster during King Philip’s War.
Residence in Massachusetts in the 1990s gave him the opportunity to explore his family history and that led to pinpointing this particular war, called also Metacom’s War or the first Indian war. In addition to studying many books and documents related to the war, he visited historic sites associated with the conflict.
An Illinois native, Deuger graduated from Monmouth College with a bachelor’s degree in geology and an officer’s commission in the U.S. Army. His Army career involved him in various infantry and special forces assignments at several Army installations, including a tour at Fort Devens with 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), As a result he developed an interest in military history. And adding to that the fact that he is part Native American (Chippewa), he has a special interest in military conflicts involving Native Americans.
Deuger resides in Groton. His son is a West Point graduate serving with the U.S. Army. In addition to serving on the Fort Devens staff, Deuger has served on various boards and committees in Groton town government, coached youth sports, and worked with the Boy Scouts of America.