February 13 - 1914: Distress signals heard but no vessel sighted

1959: Renowned artist John Whorf dies in Provincetown
John Whorf's "The Beachcomber". Courtesy of Provincetown Art Association & Museum.

1914: Ship in distress off Truro vanishes

Cape Cod lifesavers hear whistle, but think vessel escaped

On this day in 1914 the forces of four life-saving stations patrolled the beaches on the tip end of Cape Cod for several hours watching for a steamer which was blowing distress signals offshore.

One of the surfmen said he had sighted the vessel on the bar. A thick vapor hung offshore and until afternoon nothing could be seen. The distress signal was heard at Peaked Hill Station, Highland lighthouse and in the center of Provincetown.

But when the weather cleared later that day, there was no vessel in sight either on the bar or offshore. It was thought that she escaped whatever danger threatened her and had proceeded on her way.

(Right: An old photo of Peaked Hill Station and its crew around the time of this story.)

1959: John Whorf, 56, world-famed painter, died this day in Provincetown

On this day in 1959, as reported by the Associated Press -

"John Whorf, 56, world-famed painter, died today while he was being rushed by ambulance to a hospital from his Provincetown home, where he suffered a heart attack.

He was elected a member of the National Academy in 1947. Harvard gave him an honorary master of arts degree in 1938.

A descendant of Cape Cod sea captains, Whorf painted Cape Cod marine scenes, landscapes and human interest subjects.

Whorf began formal art lessons at the St. Botolph Studio in Boston and the Museum of Fine Art School as a teenager before moving to Provincetown, a burgeoning art center.

As a young man, he traveled in France, Portugal and Morocco, painting prolifically, a habit that marked his career as an artist. Whorf also switched from oils during his travels and would in time become widely recognized as a master watercolorist.

Whorf later studied with Max Bohm, Charles W. Hawthorne and E. Ambrose Webster and held his first one-man exhibition in 1924 at Boston's Grace Home Gallery, where he sold more than 50 paintings. He would continue to be exhibited in Boston and New York City galleries and at the time of his death was a member of the American Water Color Society and the Provincetown Art Association, as well as of the National Academy.

(Above "Sea Swell" and below "Provincetown" by John Whorf. See more of his paintings here.

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