Born in Audrain County, Missouri on 30 March 1866 to James Frank and Sarah Wilfley, Lebbeus Wilfley finished his college education at the Central College in Fayette, Missouri. He earned his Bachelor of Laws degree from Yale University in 1892 and was admitted to the Bar in 1893.
He initially practiced law at St. Louis Missouri unitl 1901 when he was appointed Attorney General of the Philippines. He was a delegate to the Universal Congress of Lawyers and Jurists held in St. Louis, Missouri in 1901. He vacated the position of Attorney General when he was appointed Judge of the United States Court for China on July 16, 1906.
Lebbeus Wilfley was a Methodist and a democrat who was unmarried during his lifetime. He died on May 26, 1926.