NOTES: The following biographical info was graciously submitted by Benoit Pelletier Shoja:
Charles-Philippe Antaya-dit-Pelletier (1827-92) shares some characteristics with his forefather, Nicolas: he is able to sign his name; he is a “sellier”, a harness-maker, invaluable to a society dependant on horses, much like Nicolas, a carpenter, was crucial to a colony in need of constructors; and he is among the first of his generation to leave his homeland in search of greater prosperity abroad.
Having married in 1849, Philippe loses both wife and baby in childbirth in early 1851, but he soon remarries, and within a year, he has started his family. At this same time, Canada is recovering from a four-year depression, but by 1857, the country is again in economic straits; as an independent artisan, Philippe is undoubtedly affected.
That year or the next, he and his wife, Julie, along with their children, Charles, Oscar and Célina, immigrate to America, to Concord, New Hampshire, where a son is born in the spring of 1858, and where Philippe works as a harness-maker for James R. Hill and Company, a leather-goods manufacturer.
Despite living and raising his family in an Anglo-Saxon Protestant environment, and even having accepted, in many instances, the Anglicization of his name to “Pelkey”, Philippe holds to the values he has brought with him from Canada. In 1868, he is among the first members of the Association Canadienne-Française, the first Franco-American fraternal benefit society in the state, which bespeaks not only his continuing national pride, but also his ardent dedication to the survival of the French language and Catholic faith in Yankee New England.
While in Concord, where they belong to the parish of Saint John the Evangelist, Philippe and his family live exclusively downtown, renting or boarding, and it is not until 1883 that they remain at one address for more than a year; living with them at one time or another throughout the 1880s are different cousins from Quebec, many of whom also work for J. R. Hill and Company.
In 1888, Philippe's youngest son, Napoléon, moves some fifty miles south, to Gardner, Massachusetts, presumably to establish a new home for the family there. Within a year or so, Philippe and his two oldest sons have also relocated to Gardner, where they continue to work as harness-makers, but in 1892, the family returns to Concord, its patriarch having died that February.
At his death, Philippe leaves but a small progeny - four sons, three daughters, and a half-dozen grandchildren, only some of whom marry and start families of their own -, but his youngest son, Napoléon, will go on to establish the Pelkey family in America.