Identified with the New England textile industry since he entered business, William H. Gidley has been connected at different times in responsible positions with various well-known textile concerns in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. For the last decade he has been treasurer and manager of several large textile companies at Cranston. He is widely known as an able business executive and enjoys high standing in the industry with which he has been connected for more than thirty years. He is a member of numerous Masonic organizations, as well as social and civic associations and is widely known in yachting circles, this sport having been for many years his favorite recreation.
William H. Gidley was born at Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, February 11, 1879, a son of John C. and Elizabeth (Shephard) Gidley. His father, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, was a carpenter and was actively engaged in his trade until his death. His mother, now also deceased, was a native of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Mr. Gidley received his early education in the public grammar and high schools of New Bedford, Massachusetts, and, having graduated from high school, went to work in the textile mills of New Bedford. During 1898-1905 he was connected with the New England Cotton Yarn Company, of New Bedford. Next he spent eight years, 1905-13, with the Kilburn Mills, also of New Bedford, Massachusetts, of which he served as assistant treasurer. After severing his connection with this concern, he became treasurer and manager of the Green & Daniels Company, Incorporated, of Pawtucket, continuing in that capacity with much success until 1919. Since 1920 he has been identified with the United Lace & Braid Company of Auburn, Cranston, of which he has been treasurer and manager. In 1921 he reorganized the concern known as Repro, Incorporated, which was then located at Canton, Massachusetts, and which Mr. Gidley removed to Cranston, serving as its treasurer and manager since that time. He is a member of the boards of directors of both of these companies, as well as of Supro Company, Incorporated; Comstock Wood Company, and Respats, Incorporated. For many years active in Masonic affairs, he is a member of numerous Masonic bodies, including the following: Star in the East Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons; Adoniram Chapter, of New Bedford, Royal Arch Masons; New Bedford, Council Royal and Select Masters; Sutton Commandery of New Bedford, Knights Templar; Aleppo Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, of Boston. He is also a member of the Pawtucket Lodge, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Wannamoisett Country Club, the Turks Head Club, the Palestine Shrine Club, the Rhode Island Yacht Club, the East Greenwich Yacht Club, the Squantum Club, the Republican Club, and the Warwick Country Club, of which latter he is the commodore. Other organizations, in which Mr. Gidley maintains membership, include the Providence Chamber of Commerce and the Rhode Island Textile Association, of which he was one of the organizers. He is very fond of yachting and for five years served on the International Star-Class Yacht Racing Association, of which he was one of the organizers. He is also a member of the North American Yacht Racing Union. His religious affiliations are with the Protestant Episcopal Church.
Mr. Gidley married, in 1919, Drusilla Thomas, a native of Troy, New York. Mr. and Mrs. Gidley are the parents of two daughters:
- Hope Gidley.
- Dorothy Gidley.
Source: Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy, vol 3 of 4. New York: Lewis historical Pub. Co., 1932.