E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
One who obstinately maintains some custom or opinion; as a stickler for Church government. (See below.)
A stickler about trifles. One particular about things of no moment. Sticklers were the seconds in ancient single combats, very punctilious about the minutest points of etiquette. They were so called from the white stick which they carried in emblem of their office.
I am willing to give thee precedence, and content myself with the humbler office of stickler.Sir Walter Scott: Fair Maid of Perth, chap. xvi.