Captain Luther Harvey

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Captain Luther Harvey

Birthplace: Swanzey, Cheshire, New Hampshire, United States
Death: September 14, 1878 (94)
Monroe, Monroe, Michigan, United States
Place of Burial: Monroe, Monroe, Michigan, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Kimber Harvey and Mary Harvey
Husband of Lois Harvey Conklin and Mary Harvey
Father of Emerson Harvey and Lucinda Wiswall van Leuven
Brother of Calvin Harvey, (Twin); Polly French; Betsey Harvey; Philinda Baldwin; Charlotte Harvey and 9 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Captain Luther Harvey

Captain Luther Harvey - Soldier, Mariner and Messenger to Fort Meigs Jan 26, 2010 Kathy Warnes

Luther Harvey sought adventure on the Great Lakes and in soldiering. He found Lake Erie, General William Henry Harrison and Commander Oliver Perry.


Captain Luther Harvey created a laundry list of occupations. He was a mail carrier, soldier, tavern keeper, and most of all, a mariner and adventurer. After following an inherited wanderlust where it led him, Captain Harvey selected Monroe, Michigan, as his permanent harbor.

Like many other New Englanders, Luther Harvey's family frequently moved around between 1789, the year he was born, and 1810, when he went to Pennsylvania on his own. The family lived in Genessee and Buffalo, New York, where he first became acquainted with Lake Erie. From an early age, Harvey avidly followed the commissary windjammer that sailed up and down the lakes bringing Irish pork from Canada and salt from Onodaga. There were no improved harbors on Lake Erie in the early 1800s and sail boats had to be poled up the Niagara River. An early history notes that "the crew of eight polers refreshed themselves from the tin cup hung from the barrel of Pennsylvania rye in the stern."

New York State Militia
Recruitment, Organization and Training 1792-1845
Oct 3, 2009 William Oneill

New York boasted the largest state military force in the nation. The Militia Act of 1792 created the militia. The state government directed training and operations.


President George Washington directed Henry Knox, Secretary of War to devise a plan to use the state militias in war and national crisis. Knox's efforts resulted in an act to "more effectively provide for the national defense by establishing uniform militia throughout the states."

Militia Act 1792
The act passed in two phases. The first passed 2 May 1792 gave the President authority to call out the militias of the several states "whenever the United States shall be invaded, or be in imminent danger of invasion from any foreign nation or Indian tribe." The President was also authorized to call forth the militia "whenever the laws of the United States shall be opposed or the execution thereof obstructed in any states, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by powers vested in the marshals by this act."

Congress passed the second part of the act on 8 May 1792; President Washington did not sign the second act until 28 Februasry 1795. The second act dealt with recruitmen, organization, ranks, company organization and training. All eligible males eighteen to forty-five were enlisted into the local company in his place of residence. Captains of companies were required to enroll all such men upon reaching their eighteenth year. His non-commissioned officers (NCOs) went door to door with forms annoucing the men eligible to report for duty. Failure to appear or refusal to do duty, resulted in a fine. If a man was unable to pay, the constable or marshal would jail the offender for ten days. The act directed states how to organize the militia into divisions, brigades, regiments, and companies were organized, the number of officers and NCO authorized to a company, staff officers and NCOs for regiments, and the number of staff officers authorized to a brigade and division.

An interesting point within the act was at the regimental level. Lieutenant Colonel commandants commanded a regiment rather than a colonel and two majors commanded the battalions within the regiment. A regiment was to designate one company of the regiment as either grenadiers, light infantry or riflement. Divisions were authorized an artillery company and a cavalry company drawn from volunteers of the regiments assigned to it.

Congress amended the act 20 April 1816 stating lieutenant colonel commandants would be colonels of regiments. New York implemented the change 8 July 1816 when the Council of Appointments promoted all Lieutenant Colonels to Colonels; the senior or first Major of a regiment was advanced to the grade of Lieutenant Colonel.

NY Militia Uniforms, Equipment and Arms
A militiaman was required to arm and equip himself at his own expense. The basic outfit was a good, serviceable musket, bayonet and belt, two spare flints, cartridge box with twent-four cartridges and a knapsack; riflemen needed a powder horn with a quarter pound of powder, twenty rifle balls, shooting pouch and knapsack. Officers to have sword or hanger and espontoon. Officers and men of cavalry were required to provide his own horse, at least fourteen and half hands high; saddle, bridle, and in place of knapsack a mail pillon, valise, two holsters with bearskin caps, two pistols, saber, breastplate and crupper, pair of boots with spurs, and a cartouche box with twelve pistol cartridges. Artillery to arm and equip themselves as infantry until their field pieces were issued. The act specified no additional equipment or clothing. Miltiamen equipped themselves with canteens, plate, cup, knife, fork, spoon, and possibly a frying pan or camp pot to cook with. Uniforms were not specified except for artillery and cavalry, who would wear "regimentals" color specified by the brigade or division commander. The infantry within New York City and County were authorized a uniform of cap with cap plate and feather, tight blue coat, with yellow metal buttons, white vest and pantaloons, black gaiters or half boots. Field officers to provide regiments and battalions with state and regimental colors. Company officers to provide a drum, fife, or bugle.

Discipline and Training in the NY Militia
The militia were governed by the Articles of War as in the Regular Army. New York's militia command used a series of fines and penalties for officers, non-commissioned officers, privates and musicians who appeared at muster with accoutrements and weapons in "disrepair" The militiaman unable to pay, had his property seized to satisfy the claim; if a minor or worker, than the property of his parents and master was seized to satisfy the fine levied.

Training was conducted twice a year in the Spring and Fall. Brigade Inspectors to attend all division, brigade, regimental and battalion drills to supervise the training and inspect the arms, accoutrements, and enforce discipline. New York City and County paraded twice a year also; one with the regiment and the other by company. The officers and NCOs of the New York City and County units were required to attend eight additional sessions for "military improvement." Three classes called by the brigade commander and the remainder by the colonel commanding the regiment. Every drill conducted by the militia companies in the cities and towns was street fighting.

Read more at Suite101: New York State Militia: Recruitment, Organization and Training 1792-1845

In 1810, Luther Harvey moved to Pennsylvania and then to Conneaut, Ohio, with a company of eastern settlers.News that the United States had declared war on Great Britain in the summer of 1812 motivated Harvey to travel to Cleveland, Ohio. Now 23, Harvey enlisted in the state militia that Ohio governor Jonathan Meigs, Jr., had organized to defend frontier outposts. He served as a private in Captain Clark Parker's company from August 1812 until February 1813, and his company was sent to protect the settlements along the Huron river in Ohio.

Quickly Luther Harvey discovered that garrison duty in the blockhouse on the Huron River didn't provide much adventure, so he decided to change locations. He transferred to the service of Major Lupper, a commissary contractor. The major hired him to carry disptaches around Lake Erie from Cleveland to General Harrison at Fort Meigs, near Toledo.

The River Raisin Militia Is Mustered For Service While Luther Harvey served in Captain Parker's militia, the River Raisin militia mustered for service and in the summer of 1812, the militia began to build a military road, later named Jefferson Avenue, that would link Detroit with Ohio. As soon as the River Raisin Militia had completed the road, General William Hull, who commanded the United States forces in the Old Northwest, marched several thousand Ohio volunteers over it to defend Detroit.

General Hull had planned to capture the British Fort Malden in Amherstburg, Ontario, but changed his plans when the Indian allies of the British cut off the flow of supplies. General Hull tried three times to open the road, but he couldn't break the grip of the Indians and the British. Facing an army of British soldiers and Indians and convinced that he could not prevail, General Hull surrendered his entire army to the British at Detroit on August 16, 1812.

The Americans and the British Prepare for the Battle of Lake Erie Feb 14, 2011 Kathy Warnes

Battlefield of the Battle of Frenchtown or River R - Wikimedia Commons
The British and Americans fought at Frenchtown and Fort Meigs, but the Battle of Lake Erie on September 10, 1813, decided who would control the Great Lakes.


Although the General William Hull surrendered Detroit to the British as explored in The Americans Lose Brownstown and Cede Detroit, the Americans did not allow General William Hull’s surrender of Detroit on August 16, 1812 to demoralize them. They built a second North Western Army with William Henry Harrison, Governor of Indiana Territory, in command.

Governor Harrison Plans a Winter Campaign Against the British Governor Harrison planned a winter campaign to regain lost territory and to attack the British at Amherstburg, hoping that ice on the Detroit River would encase the British vessels and serve as a bridge for his 4,000- man army. General Harrison and the British commander, General Procter, and their forces clashed at the Battle of Frenchtown on January 22, 1813.

Although the battle was hard fought with heavy losses on both sides, Procter and his troops prevailed. The next day the Indians massacred wounded American prisoners, creating enough American outrage to ensure their inevitable defeat. A detachment of the Provincial Marine, numbering 28 men of all ranks and acting as artillerymen actively participated in the Battle of Frenchtown. They suffered over 50 percent casualties with one man killed and sixteen wounded.

The British had to control Lake Erie to win the War of 1812, and they faced a severe supply problem in maintaining this control. The region around Lake Erie and the Detroit River did not produce enough crops and livestock to feed General Procter’s troops, the British sailors on Lake Erie or the multitude of Tecumseh’s warriors and their families gathered at Amherstburg. The British maintained their control of Lake Erie from June 1812 until July 1813, when the American fleet that Commodore Perry was building at Presque Isle became a deciding factor in the War of 1812.

General Henry Procter’s Forces Unsuccessfully Besiege Fort Meigs In the spring of 1813, the Provincial Marine proved itself once again as an effective transport service when it carried General Henry Procter’s force of Regulars and Militia across Lake Erie to besiege the American base of Fort Meigs in Perrysburg, Ohio. Over 500 Regulars embarked on the Queen Charlotte, General Hunter, Chippewa, Mary, Nancy and Miamis, and 462 Essex Militia were loaded onto numerous bateaux. The Marine also shipped large stores and large caliber cannons to bombard the fort. The operation and one later in July did not defeat the Americans, but the officers and men of the Provincial Marine were an important part of the campaign.

Responding to the American threat on the Great Lakes, the British sent two Royal Naval contingents to the Great Lakes in the spring of 1813 to supersede the Provincial Marine. Captain James Lucas Yeo commanded the largest group of about 446 officers and men that arrived directly from England. Robert Heriot Barclay, a Royal Navy veteran of the Battle of Trafalgar, led a smaller group of nine officers and gunners who came from the Atlantic command of Sir John Warden.

Robert Heriot Barclay had a similar seafaring biography that compared to the biography of Oliver Hazard Perry. Barclay served aboard the HMS Diana in the English Channel and in November 1809, lost his left arm leading a boarding attack on a French convoy. He recovered and continued to serve as a Lieutenant aboard several ships on the North American station. After the United States declared war in June 1812, Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren, Commander in Chief of the North American station, detached Barclay and two other Lieutenants, Robert Finnis and Daniel Pring, to act as captains of corvettes on the Great Lakes.

On May 5, 1813, Barclay arrived at Kingston on Lake Ontario and took charge of the squadron there as acting commander. Ten days later Captain James Lucas Yeo took charge and when his friend William Mulcaster declined his offer to be commander of the detached squadron on Lake Erie because he felt the squadron was undermanned and unprepared, Captain Yeo extended the offer to Barclay. Barclay immediately accepted.

Commander Barclay Evaluates the American Fleet and Prepares For Battle
By 1813, the Americans dominated Lake Ontario and held the Niagara Peninsula, and Commander Barclay had to travel overland to Amherstburg to his command with just a handful of officers and seamen. Arriving there on June 5, 1813, he immediately set sail in two of his armed vessels to assess the American fleet.

At this point the Americans did not have any armed vessels on the lakes, but they were constructing ships at Presque Isle and transferring several from Black Rock. Commander Barclay reconnoitered Presque Isle and noted that the Americans had a force of 2000 militia and the two American brigs already had their lower masts fitted. Next, he attempted to intercept the American ships from Black Rock, but the foggy weather caused the two fleets to miss each other. Later Commander Barclay learned that he and the Americans had been only about fourteen miles apart off Cattaraugus Creek.

Only a small portion of the Royal Navy officers and seamen were sent to the Navy Yard at Amherstburg. Captain Yeo ordered Barclay there to assume the command of Commodore Hall and Barclay arrived with three officers, a surgeon, a purser, a master’s mate and nineteen men. He had only the smallest core of naval professionals and the majority of the seamen and many of the officers that he commanded were not Royal Navy sailors. A roster for July 1813 listed 108 Canadians, 54 sailors, and 106 of the 41st regiment soldiers as serving aboard the vessels at Amherstburg.

Commander Barclay pleaded for an additional 250-300 professional seamen, but had received fewer than fifty reinforcements before the battle of Lake Erie. During the summer of 1813, Barclay, Bell and General Procter frantically tried to prepare the Detroit and the Amherstburg fleets for action. The lack of trained seamen and supplies were to be critical factors in the autumn encounter with Oliver Hazard Perry and his fleet.

Suite101: The Americans and the British Prepare for the Battle of Lake Erie

Captain Luther Harvey and "Remember the Raisin"
Captain Harvey Is Involved in the War of 1812
Jan 26, 2010 Kathy Warnes


Luther Harvey moved his family to Huron, Ohio, and enlisted in the American militia. He witnessed the aftermath of the Battle of the River Raisin.


As discussed in Captain Luther Harvey, Soldier-Mariner, Captain Luther Harvey enlisted in Captain Parker's militia and served for a year. He discovered that garrison duty in the blockhouse bored him, so he applied for a transfer and found himself rubbing shoulders and delivering supplies for General William Henry Harrison.

While Captain Luther Harvey hauled supplies between Cleveland and Monroe, the British and Americans fought a fierce battle. By November 1812, a detachment of Canadian militiamen armed with a small cannon were stationed at Frenchtown to monitor the advance of another American army. General James Winchester, an elderly Revolutionary War veteran, commanded this new army which had been recruited in Kentucky in August 1812. General Winchester sent over 600 men to Frenchtown to fight the British. They arrived on the afternoon of January 18, 1813, and took positions south of the River Raisin. They were reinforced with 100 men from the River Raisin settlement. About 200 Potawatomi Indians and 63 Canadian militiamen faced the American forces.

"Remember the Raisin" The Americans routed the Canadians and the Potawatomi Indians and drove them into the woods about a mile north of the settlement. The Americans set up camp among the homes on the north side of the River Raisin and the British and Indians retreated north of Brownstown, across the Detroit River from the British base at Fort Malden. Arriving with reinforcements and confident from the victory, General Winchester spread his men throughout Frenchtown. He chose an isolated house far from the settlement as his quarters.

Colonel Henry Procter, the commander of the British forces, called out all of his avilable troops- about 500 British soldiers and about 500 Indian warriors under Wyandot chief Roundhead. They hurried across the frozen River Raisin toward Frenchtown. The British and their Indian allies staged a surprise attack on the Americans at Frenchtown at dawn on January 22, 1813. Chief Roundhead captured General Winchester who had attempted to join his command from his distant quarters and the General surrendered his entire army. The Kentuckians under General Winchester surrendered only after insisting on a promise that the American wounded would be protected from the Indians.

Read on Captain Luther Harvey and Commander Perry The War of 1812- The Americans Lose Brownstown and Cede Detroit The Americans and the British Prepare for the Battle of Lake Erie Colonel Procter and his soldiers retreated to Brownstown to avoid what he thought would be a counterattack by General William Henry Harrison. On January 23, 1813, all of the British guards supposedly protecting the wounded Americans left and the Indians returned to the settlement. They plundered homes and the wounded for treasures and killed and scalped between 30 and 60 of the wounded American prisoners, many of them Kentucky volunteers. They set fire to houses and tossed bodies into them. They claimed the wounded who could walk and marched them to Detroit to ransom them. American newspapers quickly called the battle and its aftermath "The Massacre of the River Raisin." Americans in the west rallied to the battle cry of "Remember the Raisin." Luther Harvey was one of the men who inspected the battlefield and tried to help the wounded and bury the dead.

General William Henry Harrison Changes His Plans General William Henry Harrison had planned a winter campaign for his Army of the Northwest, but the defeat of Colonel Winchester at Frenchtown forced him to change his plans. Instead, he decided to build Fort Meigs at the Maumee Rapids. Luther Harvey and a few companions delivered messages from Cleveland to General Harrison at Fort Meigs. In February 1813, Harvey took the job of driving six yoke of oxen hauling flour and other stores from Cleveland to Fort Meigs. Harvey was convinced that the massacre at the River Raisin had frightened General Harrison and he planned to abandon Fort Meigs. Resolutely, Harvey continued to deliver his supplies without spotting any British soldiers or Indians, and his supplies kept the garrison alive the rest of the winter. The last part of his story is told in Captain Harvey and Commander Perry.

Read more at Suite101: Captain Luther Harvey and "Remember the Raisin": Captain Harvey Is Involved in the War of 1812

The River Raisin militia reeled from the shock when a British officer arrived in Frenchtown- later Monroe- on August 17, informing them of the surrender of Detroit and ordering them to surrender. The British briefly occupied the settlement, burned its blockhouse, and then departed. After General Hull surrendered Detroit, President James Madison appointed William Henry Harrison to head the reorganized Army of the Northwest. In January 1813, General William Henry Harrison vowed to recapture Michigan. One of his first moves was to divide his army in half. He led one column to Upper Sandusky and Colonel James Winchester led the other further west to the settlement of Frenchtown on the River Raisin. Read about Harvey's adventures with General William Henry Harrison in Captain Harvey and Remember the Raisin.

Captain Harvey delivered supplies for General Harrison and witnessed the Battle of Lake Erie. He settled in Monroe, Michigan, and resumed his voyages on the Great Lakes.


Captain Luther Harvey and Commander Perry The Captain and His Family Settle in Monroe, Michigan :

As explored in Captain Luther Harvey and Remember the Raisin, Captain Luther Harvey served in the American militia, delivered supplies to General William Henry Harrison, and helped bury the victims of the River Raisin Massacre. By August 1813, Captain Harvey and his family had completed a circuit of the east and south shore of Lake Erie and were living in Huron, Ohio. Commander Oliver Hazard Perry had finished building his fleet at Erie, Pennsylvania, and had dropped anchor at Sandusky, Ohio. Harvey decided to visit the fleet. He found a leaky batteau that some Americans had used to flee from Maumee, loaded it with supplies, including butter and roasting ears, and rowed out to the fleet with several farm boys. Perry 's sailors eagerly welcomed this spontaneous supply ship.

Harvey Watches the Battle of Lake Erie After watching the sailors unload his groceries on Perry's flagship the Lawrence, Harvey demanded to be taken aboard to meet Perry himself. He chatted with Commander Perry on the deck of the Lawrence.The purser paid him well, encouraging him to return soon. Harvey did soon return, but this time to Put-in-Bay, where Perry’s fleet waited in battle formation for the British.

Along with many other observers, Luther Harvey watched the Battle of Lake Erie from a nearby island, possibly Kelly’s or Catawba Island. When the guns stopped, he hurried to the scene of the battle and observed the wreckage of British and American vessels. He saw broken spars, blood-stained mattresses, clothing, and tangled rigging cluttering the water.

Again, Luther Harvey meet Captain Perry and Perry insisted that Harvey pilot a boat load of Kentucky militia across Lake Erie to occupy Fort Malden which the British had abandoned as soon as Perry won the Battle of Lake Erie. When they reached Fort Malden, the Kentuckians burned the abandoned home of Colonel Elliott, because they blamed him for the murders of their fellow militiamen at Frenchtown. After he left Fort Malden, Luther Harvey went to Detroit which the British had also abandoned. He said it was a dirty, disagreeable place, but did enjoy watching Jefferson Avenue being plowed the first time for grading.

The Harvey Family Moves to Frenchtown In 1815, Luther Harvey moved his family from Detroit to Frenchtown, bringing him full circle around Lake Erie from Buffalo. One of the first people to come into the abandoned Frenchtown settlement after the battle of the River Raisin, Harvey made Frenchtown his home after that. He opened a tavern as his first business venture in his new home, and he immediately took the lead in community affairs.

The first Fourth of July he spent in Frenchtown, Harvey took part in a patriotic and gruesome exercise. Many of the men and boys of the reviving village spent the day wheeling carts along the banks of the River Raisin, gathering up the bleached bones of the victims of the massacre which had taken place two years before. They found bones as far south as Plum Creek, where the British and Indians had pursued the beaten Kentuckians. They also collected tomahawks, cannon balls, muskets, bayonets, parts of uniforms and other equipment that the Indians had overlooked.

Captain Luther Harvey Sails Again His tavern keeper life soon bored Luther Harvey who was only 26 when he moved to Frenchtown. In 1817, he went back to being a lake captain, and owned and sailed several sailing sloops and schooners . The Detroit Gazette of April 17, 1818, records Captain Harvey as bound for Miami in the schooner General Brown.

In 1820, the Fire Fly, Capt. Luther Harvey, 2 tons. is listed in the roster of vessels plying the Maumee River. Captain Harvey sailed the Fire Fly, and often voyaged to the then almost unknown harbors of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan in safety. The Detroit Gazette of April 8, 1825 lists the Fire Fly, Captain Harvey, from Miami as arriving from Buffalo. In November 1828, the Detroit Gazette has Captain Harvey arriving from Miami in the Regulator. For nearly thirty years he sailed the lakes, and so skillfully managed his ships that he very seldom suffered an accident or a loss.

The 1870 census shows Luther Harvey, age 82, from Vermont living in Monroe and his wife, Mary, 73, born in Canada, and keeping house in Monroe. His son and wife and children also lived with him. He died in Monroe on Sunday September 14, 1878.

Francis A. Dewey of Cambridge, Michigan, writes in an 1881 memoir that in “his quiet and memorable residence, at the age of eighty-six years, he laid down to sleep his last, long sleep, and then and there was entombed, a pioneer of the lakes and Monroe.”

Read more at Suite101: Captain Luther Harvey - Soldier, Mariner: Sailing, Soldiering and Messages to Fort Meigs

Read more at Suite101: Captain Luther Harvey and Commander Perry: The Captain and His Family Settle in Monroe, Michigan

Read on Captain Luther Harvey and Commander Perry Captain Luther Harvey and "Remember the Raisin" The Americans and the British Prepare for the Battle of Lake Erie

Luther was one of the founding members of the Monroe County Bible Society.

In 1820, in the upper room of the old yellow court house, (which gave place to the First Presbyterian Church, seventeen of Monroe's first settlers met to form a Bible Society. The Monroe County Bible Society was formed, with the purpose of putting Bibles into every home of Monroe that was willing to receive it. Over seven thousand Bibles were eventually distributed in the county. The difficulty in raising the money was seen in a resolution of a meeting.

"Resolved, as the sense of this society, that the initiation fee of fifty cents may be paid into the depository of this society in cash, wheat or corn, as shall best suit the convenience of parties, the wheat and flour to be disposed of to the best advantage for the society by the board of directors."

This society became an auxilliary to the American Bible Society.

  • Luther carried dispatches to Fort Meigs during the War of 1812. Eyewitness to the Battle of Lake Erie and was impressed into service by Admiral Oliver Hazard Perry to transport wounded.
    • Husband of Mary, father of Emerson

Family links:

 Mary Choate Harvey (1798 - 1885)

 Lucinda W Harvey Van Leuven (1813 - 1880)*


Legacy NFS Source: Luther Harvey - Individual or family possessions: birth-name: Luther Harvey Notes Individual or family possessions: birth-name: Luther Harvey Individual or family possessions: birth: 26 September 1783; Swanzey, Cheshire, New Hampshire, United States Individual or family possessions: death: 8 February 1816; Monroe, Monroe, Michigan, United States Attached 8 August 2014 by DelorisPBennett Modified | History 29 January 2016 by Barbaraann.howell Reason This Source Is Attached | Edit Migrated from user-supplied source citation: urn:familysearch:source:2323380681
<> (It seems that Lois and Lucinda thought he had died?...however....the record shows he continued to live in Monroe, married, fathered a son and died there.)

History of Monroe County, Michigan: A Narrative Account of Its ..., Volume 1 By John McClelland Bulkley

Protestantism in Michigan: Being a Special History of the Methodist ... By Elijah Holmes Pilcher

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Captain Luther Harvey's Timeline

September 26, 1783
Swanzey, Cheshire, New Hampshire, United States
August 12, 1813
Lorraine, Jefferson County, New York, United States
September 14, 1878
Age 94
Monroe, Monroe, Michigan, United States
September 1878
Age 94
Monroe, Monroe, Michigan, United States
Monroe, Monroe, Michigan, United States