The town was named for Brighton Beach, New York. Brighton was founded in the 1870s as a stage/railroad depot and farming community. The town was originally named Hughes Station. The town was incorporated in 1887. Among the notable scholars born there are Richard Ling, founding editor of Mobile Media & Communication, currently the Shaw Foundation Professor of Media Technology at Nanyang Technological University, and Max Pfeffer, Senior Associate Dean of the Cornell UniversityCollege of Agriculture and Life Sciences.