Born March 4, 1867, in Marion
Died April 14, 1925, in Bristol
Appointed by Governor Henry Carter Stuart on January 12, 1915, to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of John Alexander Buchanan and began his service the same day. Elected by the General Assembly to a regular 12-year term on January 16, 1915. Service terminated by resignation.
Re-appointed by Governor E. Lee Trinkle on February 19, 1925, to fill the vacancy created by the death of Frederick Wilmer Sims. Service terminated by death.
Elected president on January 13, 1920, to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Stafford Gorman Whittle. Service terminated by resignation.
Other judicial service:
Judge, Bristol Corporation Court, 1909-1914
Emory and Henry College, A.B., 1886
Emory and Henry College, M.A., 1887
University of Virginia, LL.B., 1889
Private practice, Gate City, 1889-1892; Big Stone Gap, 1892-1898, circa; and Bristol, 1898-1909, circa*
Volunteer policeman, Police Guard, Big Stone Gap
Returned briefly to the practice of law, 1924-1925
Appointed and qualified, transcript of memorial on June 3, 1925, published in 142 Va., iv-xiv; elected by the General Assembly, Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia, 1915 Extra Session, 37; elected president, 126 Va., iii; resigned, 138 Va., iii; appointed a second time, memorial, 142 Va., xi; birth, education, and career, transcript of portrait presentation in 1926, published in 146 Va., v-ix; law practice, “Memorial to Judge Joseph Luther Kelly,” memorial and resolutions of the bar of Bristol, Virginia-Tennessee, presented June 3, 1925 in Wytheville and published in 142 Va., iv-viii; death, 141 Va., iii, and “Chief Judge Kelly Killed by Accident While Seeking Rats,” The Washington Post (1923-1954) [Washington, D.C.], April 15, 1925: 3; portrait, Library of Virginia catalog. See also Kelly’s biography in Lyon Gardiner Tyler, ed., Men of Mark in Virginia (Washington: Men of Mark Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. IV, 228; and the tribute to him from his law partner Joshua F. Bullitt, made on the occasion of the presentation of his portrait in 1926 and published in 146 Va., v-vii.
*There is some discrepancy about what year Kelly moved his practice to Bristol. According to Martindale’s American Law Directory, 1892-1906, he didn’t begin practicing in Bristol until 1902.