Robert Scramlin gave a land deed to New York State Historical Association in Cooperstown for property in the Lindsay Patent in Cherry Valley, which has been in his family since 1754. He still lives on the farm but about a year ago signed a conservation easement with the Otsego Land Trust to protect it from future development.
Scramlin presented the deed Dec. 14, accompanied by a member of the Land Trust board.
"I wanted to make sure it would be available to future generations," Scramlin said Tuesday. He was concerned the document might be destroyed or lost when people went through his papers. It has been kept in a safe-deposit box.
NYSHA head librarian Wayne Wright said in the more than 30 years he has worked at the archives, this is the second donation of a document from the 18th century that has been received. There have been a few documents purchased from the period over the years.
Its important because the Lindsay Patent was the first settlement by Europeans in Otsego County, he said. Seven Scottish-Irish families settled there in 1738. For 25 years, it was the only settlement in the county.
The deed shows the land was sold by Richard Miller of Albany to James Willson of Albany. He was an ancestor of Scramlin, and the property has been in possession of family descendants since that sale.
Although it hasn't been catalogued, the deed is already available for researchers at the library, Wright said.