Bryte was named after Mike Bryte, an early dairy farmer on whose land the town arose. Bryte came to California in 1849 to try his hand at gold mining. Although he did not make a fortune in gold, he bought a dairy farm in 1853 which was very successful. When the California Steam Navigation Company came to Washington, Bryte used the steamships to carry his dairy products to regional markets. Profits from this allowed Bryte to expand his holdings. By 1879, he owned 1,500 acres of land, raised 150 cows and 100 young stock, and farmed 2,500 acres in Sacramento County. Mike Bryte's status in the community was marked by his election to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors and later as sheriff. During the 20th century, Mike Bryte's property was subdivided and became known as the community of Bryte.