So somebody told you it was good fer you t’sleep with a winder open, hah? Well answer me this, Worry Wart, without no sarcasticism — does this somebody live in a shop neighborhood? -- Out Our Way, by J R Williams, in the Canton Daily News (Canton, Ohio), 3 Apr. 1929.
The phrase came into the language at around this time and became quite popular in the 1930s because Williams produced many gently humorous cartoons featuring Worry Wart. What’s intriguing about its early history is that it didn’t mean what it does now — somebody who constantly worries about everything and anything. Instead it took its sense from the cartoon — a child who annoys everyone through being a pest or nuisance.