Justice Charles Hendre Kelby was born in New York City on August 7, 1870. He was educated at New York University, earning a B.S. degree in 1892 and a law degree in 1894. He began practicing law in Kings County and served as counsel to the public administrator there.
Kelby won election to the Supreme Court in 1911. He was designated to the Appellate Division, Second Department by Governor Nathan L. Miller in 1922. Following his retirement from the bench in 1926, he continued to practice law actively. He practiced at the firm of Blake, Voorhees and Stewart and served on the Alien Enemy Hearing Board. Kelby also served as a special investigator for New York City Mayor Walker, and his investigation into alleged bootleg milk led to the conviction of Health Department employees.
His memberships included the Brooklyn and New York State Bar Associations, the New York County Lawyers Association, and several clubs.
He married Lulu Buffington Richardson in 1897 and had two children, both attorneys. In 1922 Mr. and Mrs. Kelby were driving in the city when a man asked them for help in pursuing his stolen car; Mrs. Kelby gave chase, forced the driver of the other car against the curb, and the man's car was recovered.
Charles H. Kelby died on July 31, 1944 in Brooklyn at the age of 73.
"Chas. H. Kelby Dies: Justice 14 Years." New York Times (1923-Current file): 15. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2007). Aug 02 1944. Web. 9 Feb. 2012.
"Judge's Wife Steps on Gas in Car Chase." New York Times (1857-1922): 9. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2007). May 11 1922. Web. 9 Feb. 2012.