John Milton Hawks settled in the area following the Civil War. He brought 500 freed slaves to lands along the Halifax River 1866 and was credited with naming Orange Port in February 1867. In the next year, the words were reversed, and it became Port Orange. Only 9 families remained by 1869, and the area became unofficially known as Freemanville. Today, Mount Moriah Baptist Church (built in 1911) provides a place of worship for the descendants of the original settlers.