The Senseless Death of Eva Swan

How a lack of choice and agency over her own body led to a woman’s untimely death

Heather Monroe
9 min readNov 7, 2019


The San Francisco Examiner
San Francisco, California
24 Sep 1910, Sat • Page 1

Eva Clara Swan was born in January of 1884 in Ruby Hill, Nevada, but grew up in Paso Robles, California. She graduated High School in Paso Robles with a teacher’s certificate and taught school throughout California.

By the time she was 26, Eva was still single and working as a stenographer in San Francisco. Friends and family called her remarkably studious, and mild-tempered. She effortlessly attracted many friends. Although, She could become sullen and withdrawn at times.

Eva was especially close to two men. One, Homer Hatch, who she knew from Paso Robles. The other, a magazine writer and Stanford athlete named Paul P. Parker, who also had a room in the boarding house on Scott Street.


Eva resided in a boarding house at 2040 Scott Street and worked at the Mondack Building on Market Street. On April 20, 1910, Eva looked unusually pale and had trouble concentrating on her stenographic work. “I can’t stand this any longer!” she said as she tossed a set of keys on her bosses desk and walked out. She wasn’t upset or going through a period of despair.

Friends and family made several unsuccessful attempts to reach her by telephone. Her uncle, Henry Swan, went to the boarding house and found her belongings undisturbed.

Eva’s friend, Henry Hatch, also visited the boarding house that day. When he arrived from Paso Robles to San Francisco, he left her a note and later returned to wait for her. The letter went unread. Eva never returned to her rented room.

Eva’s family knew she wouldn’t leave everything she owned. She never spoke of plans to leave. Something was amiss. On April 21, 1910, her family reported her disappearance to the police.

Paul contacted Eva’s doctor, a man named Dr. Grant, who said that Eva was ill and recovering out in Mill Valley. Paul told his landlady this story, and she told Homer Hatch when he came looking for Eva in May. This lead turned out to be a false one. It appeared as if Eva vanished into thin air.



Heather Monroe

Welcome readers! Heather Monroe is a genealogist and writer who resides in California with her partner and their nine children. •True Crime• History• Memoir•