Note: The following biographical info was graciously submitted by Benoit Shoja:
Napoleon Pelletier - later Pelkey - (c.1864-1951) grows up speaking French in the home, but when on the streets of Concord, he must speak English, which eventually becomes his first language.
By the age of fifteen, like his father and two older brothers, he has begun working at James R. Hill and Company as a harness-maker, a craft he practices over the course of the next four decades, at different establishments, until the proliferation of the “horseless carriage” has replaced most equestrian-related services.
His trade takes him to Gardner, Massachusetts, in 1888, and later to Providence, Rhode Island, in 1908, but in both instances, after just a few years, he ends by returning to Concord.
In 1910, while working at the Page Belting Company in Concord, Napoleon lives at the Trombley Boarding House, on Montgomery Street, where he one day makes the acquaintance of Fabiola Renaud, a young hostess working there. The two marry in the autumn of 1912, at the parish chapel of Sacre-Coeur on Pleasant Street, and they soon after take residence at 26 White Street and start their family.
In 1915, Napoleon moves with his wife and two sons to Lowell, Massachusetts, where harness-makers are still in demand, but by 1919, he is forced into another occupation. That year he begins working for the Boston and Maine Railroad, and he continues to work for the Railroad for two years following his return to Concord in 1922; the City Directory reports that he is a “laborer” until the early-1930s, at which point he retires.
In 1924, after years of moving from one address to another, throughout downtown Concord and around New England, Napoleon settles with his family at 7 Myrtle Street, a double-tenement house, on the other side of which live Fabiola's four younger brothers and widowed mother.
In 1931, per his agreement with the property owner, Napoleon purchases the land and building from the late owner's estate; the tract measures thirty-five feet along the street, by fifty-five feet from it. The next year, Napoleon purchases a second property in Concord, one block west of Myrtle Street, at 6 Jefferson Street, which measures forty-five feet across by sixty-five feet deep; given that Napoleon continues to live on Myrtle Street, it appears that, having invested in the Jefferson Street house, he proceeds to rent it out.
In 1938, the Pelkey family moves and settles definitively on Jefferson Street, and this is where Napoleon spends the rest of his days, healthily and happily, until his death at age eighty-seven, having seen all but one of his children marry, and having been “Pépère” to over a dozen grandchildren.
A slender man of light complexion, with fine blond hair and vibrant green eyes, Napoleon is remembered for his even temper and generous tendencies. Among his hobbies was the fermenting of dandelion wine, bottles of which he gave as holiday gifts to friends and family alike.
Today, at the parish church of Sacre-Coeur, parishioners still hear the chiming of the “cloche du sanctuaire” (sanctuary bell), sounded at the blessing of the Eucharist, which Napoleon and his wife presented to the parish in 1934, at the dedication of the new church.