New Canaan Now & Then: Notable Dogwood Lane Home


46 Dogwood Lane in New Canaan

‘New Canaan Now & Then’ is sponsored by Brown Harris Stevens Realtors Joanne Santulli, Karen Ceraso, Bettina Hegel and Schuyler Morris.

The brick house located at 46 Dogwood Lane has been home to some notable families in New Canaan since it was built in 1936. 

The first owner listed in the land records was Phyllis A. Warmoth on May 28, 1938. Mrs. Warmoth had married Frank Sheridan Warmoth, the son of Henry Clay Warmoth, on October 2, 1911 in York, Ontario. Henry was 26 years old when he was elected governor of Louisiana, making him one of the youngest governors elected in the history of the United States. 

Governor Warmoth served the state from 1868 to 1872. He was impeached in 1872 after facing criticism for weakening civil rights legislation and endorsing a Democrat (he was a Republican) as his successor. The impeachment charges were dropped after his term of office ended. 

Henry C. Warmoth also served as a Delegate to the Republican National Convention from Louisiana in 1868 and 1912. In 1877 he married heiress Sally Durand of Newark, N.J. They had three children, including Frank. Warmoth had purchased a sugar plantation in 1873 and established a sugar refinery. He was instrumental in getting a railroad constructed along the bank of the Mississippi. An interesting side note is that a modern day New Orleans service industry writer and Quarter Rat columnist took the name “Henry Warmoth” as his pseudonym. 

Frank Warmoth was born in 1878 and died in 1961. He married Phyllis Aitken, who predeceased him in 1945 at the age of 61. In 1941 Mrs. Warmoth was an essential worker in the British War Relief Workshop in New Canaan. She was so committed that she asked special permission to take a knitting machine on her trip West in October 1941 so that she could continue to make socks (she had made 600 pairs according to an  Advertiser article). The Warmoths had one daughter, Elsie Warmoth (Strother) who was born in 1912 and died in 2003. Dean Strother was her second husband.

In 1953 the property was purchased by Philip Livingston Rollin Du Val. Mr. Du Val was born in New York City on April 6, 1920. He graduated from Groton in 1939 and Yale in 1943. Mr. Du Val spent six years in the Navy and his military career spanned two wars. He earned a Bronze Star for Valor. He married Barbara Vandergaw Wheeler, whose parents lived on Oenoke Ridge. The Du Vals had two sons,  Philip Livingston Rollin II and Ian Stuart Chapin. 

Barbara Wheeler Du Val attended the Country School, The Shipley School and Sarah Lawrence College. She founded Clothes Incorporated, a women’s apparel boutique located at 27 Elm St. in 1964 which was the first of several business ventures. In 1971 she moved to Santa Barbara.In 1975 Barbara co-founded The Whitney Shop West in Montecito Village with the assistance of her good friend Judy Stinchfield. The store was well known for its great selection of clothes and gifts. In 1984 Barbara married Edward R. Spaulding who was a native of Santa Barbara. Barbara had two daughters from her second marriage, Cookie and Alexandra. It was Alexandra who discovered the incredible postcard with her mother’s handwriting on eBay four decades after it was sent by her mother to friends back in California. 

Philip Du Val married Janis Locke Lee, who predeceased him in 2003. Mr. Du Val continued to live in New Canaan (not on Dogwood Lane) until his death on Nov. 6, 2016. He served as a volunteer fireman in New Canaan for more than 30 years and was a founding elder at the First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan. Mr. Du Val chaired both the local United Way and the town Zoning Board of Appeals and was a commissioner of the New Canaan Fire Department. In 1957 he bought his first vintage fire engine, a 1924 American La France and the “Old Faithful Hose Company” came into existence.

In 1955 the new owners were Russell and Hope McWilliam Ford. Mr. Ford was the son of  Elinor Lapham Ford and was born on Oct. 2, 1922. Hope McWilliam was also from New Canaan. Her parents were John Raymond and Ann (sometimes listed as Anna) Anderson McWilliam. Ann Anderson McWilliam was the daughter of F.W.Anderson of Weed Street and married John R. Anderson in 1912 at the Congregational Church. 

Hope McWilliam Ford was born on April 12, 1923. She attended Low Heywood School in Stamford and Pine Manor Junior College. In 1944 Russell Ford (at the age of 22) piloted an A-26 Bomber in the European campaign during World War II. Ford received a medal for meritorious achievement and heroism, the Distinguished Flying Cross and Purple Heart for his service. Ford returned home and graduated from Yale in 1945 and Yale School of Architecture in 1951. 

On October 17, 1945 Russell Ford and Hope McWilliam married at the St. Bartholomew’s Chapel in New York City.  In 1958 Ford served as the city planning director of Skidmore Owings & Merrill and worked on the early phase of the World Trade Center until 1961. Russell Ford was partners with Taylor Gates and designed many homes in New Canaan. Mr. Ford moved to Cape Cod in 1974 and dedicated himself to the Cape Cod Baseball League for four decades. In 2002 he was elected to the CCBL Hall of Fame. He died on November 27, 2011 at the age of 89. His wife of 57 years predeceased him in 2002. While the Fords were owners of the property they converted the existing garage into another room and added a carport and workshop.

The property was sold to Lawrence E. Williams on August 4, 1961 for the purchase price of $45,000. In 1962 it changed hands again and was sold to Bernadette G. Boyle. Mrs. Boyle purchased the property on June 15, 1962 for $50,000. Mrs. Boyle was the widow of Alexander R.M. Boyle who died in 1959. Mr. Boyle was a former deacon of the New Canaan Church. He was originally from Scotland and emigrated to Canada in 1919 and then the United States. Mrs. Bernadette Boyle was a member of the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music according to an Advertiser article in 1947. The Boyles had two children, Alexander Jr. and Bernadette. In April 1966 Alexander Jr. married Elizabeth Glidden of New Canaan at St. Mark’s Church.

In August 1976 the property was purchased by Thomas J. and Cynthia Monahan. The Monahans continue to live at the residence. The Monahans added a pool in 1992. Mr. Monahan is the current President of the New Canaan Museum & Historical Society.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *