William J. Olcott, while yet in the prime of life, has attained a standing among the successful business men of Duluth that is most gratifying and creditable. He was born in Detroit, Mich., February 22, 1862, to Harlow and Elizabeth (Fifield) Olcott and gained his preliminary education in the schools at Marquette in his native state. Supplementing this with a course of study in mining and chemistry at the University of Michigan, he was there graduated in 1883, when twenty-one years of age; took post-graduate work in 1884.
After finishing his studies in college, Mr. Olcott was for a number of years employed in the line of his chosen work, being successively engaged as assistant engineer for the Chapin mine on the Menominee range, chemist and engineer for the Ashland and Germania mines, and the Penokee and Gogebic Consolidated Iron Mines, Bessemer; the Comet mine, Wakefield; the Aurora mine, Ironwood, and the Superior mine at Hurley. On February 6, 1894, he was made superintendent of the Lake Superior Consolidated Iron Mines and from April 1, 1901, to July 25, 1902, filled the position of general superintendent of the mines controlled by the United States Steel Corporation. In 1901 he was made president of the Duluth, Missabe & Northern Railway, which position he continued to occupy until April, 1909. On April 1, 1909, he was elected to the office of president of the Oliver Iron Mining Company, which position he now holds.
In 1902 Mr. Olcott served as president of the Lake Superior Society of Mining Engineers and is also a member of the American Society of Mining Engineers. He is a man of fine personality and is active in matters pertaining to the civic and social life of his community, holding membership in the Commercial, the Kitchi Gammi, the Minnesota and the Northland Country clubs.
On December 26, 1887, Mr. Olcott married Miss Fannie Bailey, of Ann Arbor, Mich.