One thing I have noticed while researching troopers buried in South Dakota and it's really surprising when you think about it... headstones with the wrong information. Where are the family and friends of the deceased? Don't they notice that the dates are wrong? Or the name isn't spelled correctly? This weird reality extends to documents, both official and personal, as well. Birth and death certificates with the wrong information. Military records with incorrect names, dates, company assignments, etc. It makes life unnecessarily difficult on those of us trying to research these guys.
Indeed, a 2010 US Army report to Congress found that a shocking one in four graves at Arlington National Cemetery may contain discrepancies. Officials found that internal records did not match with 64,230 headstones. There were misspelled names, incorrect ranks, and wrong dates of birth and death.
This brings us to Max and Annie Goetze.
Max Goetze joined the 7th Cavalry at St. Louis in 1861 and was in G troop. He served with Custer in the Black Hills in 1874. After his discharge in the 80s he became a rancher, and later drove the ambulance at the post. Max died of pneumonia on Feb. 25, 1903 at the age of 54 years. Max had a funeral service with full military honors (he was a member of the Regular Army and of the Navy Union).
From the Sturgis Advertiser (newspaper) of November 22, 1892: Max Goetz [notice the missing 'e'] has received a patent for an improved "Railway Coach" to prevent accidents in collisions from the US Patent Office.
Max's wife Annie was previously married to 7th trooper David McWilliams and they had one son, James. David died of a laudanum overdose. It is listed as a suicide but could have just as easily been an accidental overdose. She later married Max and they resided in Sturgis.
The Sturgis Weekly Record published obituaries for both Max and Annie and in each their name is spelled 'Goetze.'
Max and Annie Goetze are buried next to each other in the Fort Meade Post Cemetery. When you are standing at their graves notice that Max has an 'e' at the end of his last name and it's missing on Annie's headstone.