All the census records in which he appears show his birthplace to have been Michigan. (1857 census)
An affidavit given in 1838 states, “Personally appeared John Pelky, a white man aged 26 years who being duly sworn according to Law, doth depose and say that he resides at the Four Lakes Wis. Ty — and has been in this Country about ten years. That about three years ago he was lawfully married to We-un-kah — an orphan, and full blood Winnebago woman, niece of Wild Goose who was a principle Chief. … That he has by his said wife one male child, named Louis, about 2 years old — That said boy is a fine active fellow, and that your deponent has a strong desire to educate him — that he your deponent speaks the Winnebago language, and has as he verily believes a strong influence with the Indians …” (Waggoner, 62a)
The 1860 census shows him to have been a blacksmith.