Moses Thompson, born in 1768, of Scotch-Irish ancestry settled initially on a farm near the Kennebec River in Solon after travel from Georgetown, Maine. He was married to Mary Churchill and by the early 1790s began building his tavern on a hilltop near the river on the Embden side, in an area that was called Queenstown at the time, and later Greenstown.
Known as the "Yellow Mansion" the tavern shared the property with several other buildings. One of these was a loom house where carding, spinning and weaving of wool and flax were done. A one-roofed structure where farming tools were housed extended from this building. Others included a carriage house, a large barn, cider mill, a smaller barn, and a large pig house. A large orchard of pears, plums, chestnuts, grapes and apple trees adjoined these areas on the property.
The tavern accommodated town meetings occasionally, but as cross-town roads had not been opened the location was not convenient to those living on the western part of town. Moses Thompson held town office himself as a selectmen, tax collector and constable, in addition to presiding as town meeting moderator and acting as town treasurer.
Moses Thompson's land holdings extended well beyond the tavern's immediate surroundings. Records show his homestead was 200 acres but he owned land amounting to around 1,000 acres along the Kennebec River and extending westward as far as the Black Hill region on the New Portland town line.
Moses Thompson was known for his success in driving cattle during the summers and autumns up the Kennebec and along the Chaudiere to English buyers in Quebec Province. Anecdotes that survived beyond his lifetime say that he was a British sympathizer during the war of 1812 because otherwise he could not sell his cattle in Canada.
Closely associated with the history of Moses Thompson is the story of the Embden-Solon ferry. The shoreline at the foot of the hill from the tavern, along the river's edge was known as "Moses Thompson's landing" and here about 1828 ferry service across the river was started. Moses Thompson drowned in the icy waters of the Kennebec River at the ferry on November 11, 1831.
Embden-Solon Ferry looking towards Embden. Moses Thompson's barn is on the hill in the distance.