It's a difficult one to search for. I checked old newspaper archives but nothing came up. The best information I've found is a forum post with thorough research by Ken Greenwald.
Greenwald didn’t find it in any historical newspapers, magazines or journals but did find it used in sports circles such as mountain and rock climbing, starting in the 1990s. It may have been passed from sailing due to the connection with rope: there may a further connection to the nautical ‘pulling really hard on a halyard'.
He got in touch with DARE:
I was pretty much at a dead end on this but it did sound, as you suggested, like it might be a New England regional term. I would have checked my Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE), which specializes in this sort of thing, except that volume IV only goes as far as 'Sk' and volume V, which will contain ‘Y,’ is still on the drawing boards. I contacted DARE editor Joan Houston Hall (University of Wisconsin, Madison) this morning to ask her if she had anything in her files on this one and she replied as follows:
<“The only remotely similar thing I found in a quick check is this: 1949 in 1965 DARE File Ann Arbor MI, "If anyone takes my drink, I'll yard him with a necktie." Informant. . . did not remember where he had picked up the expression, but [it] means vaguely 'to hang.' Probably from expression 'to hang from the yard arm.'“>
See his full post for much more.