Will S. Gidley was born in 1852.
He began writing in his teens during his school days as correspondent of the Mohawk Valley Democrat, published at Fonda, New York. Later he entered the railroad business at Athens-on-the-Hudson, and at the same time wrote regularly for the Hudson Daily Register and occasionally for the Hudson Star and the Poughkeepsie News. A few years later he was transferred to New York City but resided in Yonkers near the bungalow of John Kendrick Bangs. He now contributed to the Yonkers Gazette and the Venders Statesman. At the same time he was writing the "Happy Go-Lucky Papers" for Beadle's Banner Weekly, and also contributing much humorous matter to Puck and Judge, and other periodicals, mostly anonymously or under the pseudonyms "Will Wander," "Billy Blue," "Noah Nuff," "Samuel the Scribe," "The Yonkers Bard," and so on. He himself wrote that at this time he wrote under every imaginable title except that of "Old Subscriber" and "Vox Populi." He said: "I was then occupying a position of responsibility in the employ of the New York Central Railroad, and I was afraid if I signed my name to the jokes and other bright stuff I was turning out, Chauncey Depew might get jealous and call for my resignation, or William K. might think I was earning money outside and piling up wealth too rapidly for my own good, orówell, you see the dilemma I was in! . . . I waited until the New York Central had become established upon a firm foundation (rock ballast, in fact) and I had accumulated a valuable wad of experience and some of the other luxuries of life so that we were really not dependent upon each other any more. Then I bade good-bye to the road that had been almost like a second father to me since early boyhood, and emigrated to the glorious old Commonwealth of Massachusettsóthe State that owns the Plymouth Rock and the Sacred Codfish, Bunker Hill monument and the Frog Pond. . . .
"Since settling down in the Old Bay State I have devoted my time principally to agricultural pursuits (such as chasing the neighbor's hens, potato bugs, gipsy moths and other live stock out of the garden) and literature." He then lists nearly fifty periodicals to which he had contributed and concludes: "I have also published a book; a nice book with a red cover and a striking title outside, and plenty of good reading matter and fun inside, all well-illustrated and printed in the latest style . . . 'A Dicker in Souls.' . . . It is a good book, well worth reading."
REFERENCE: The Journalist, XXXVII, July 22, 1905, 214-15.
Under the name "Noah Nuff" were published:
Boy's Library (octavo). No. 27
Pocket Library. No. 393