The VALLEY BELLE had been a Sternwheel Towboat/Packet. She was built in 1883 at Harmar, Ohio at the Knox Yard for the Marietta-Beverly trade on the Muskingum River. She sank at Kanauga, Ohio in 1943 and was dismantled.
She navigated the rivers Ohio, Muskingum River and the Kanawha.
OWNERS of the VALLEY BELLE: Captain John Lane; E.P. Matthews (1917); Billy Bryant (1919); Captain Benjamin D. Raike (1939)
OFFICERS & CREW: Captain Thomas Clark (master, 1883-1884); Robert Bunch (engineer, 1883); Aaron McLaughlin (pilot, 1883); Captain J.C. Edwards (master, 1884); W.W. Hayman (clerk, 1884; master, 1897); J.H. Roedel (clerk, 1885); Will Chapman (clerk, 1890); Captain Robert Edwards (1895-98); Harry Donnally (clerk, 1897); Ralph Emerson Gaches (clerk, 1898-99); J.H. Williamson (clerk, 1900); C.B. Crow (clerk, 1901); Captain H.L. Ritchie (master, 1903); Charles F. Ritchie (clerk, 1903); Captain T.D. Wilkinson (master, 1907); P.L. Wolf (clerk, 1907)
Her machinery was by J.H. McConnell. On her first trip she floated over the top of Devols Dam but did not sink as many had thought. In 1884 she entered the Ravenswood-Middleport trade and made occasional Marietta-Zanesville trips between 1895 and 1898. In 1897 she was running Marietta-Middleport and then in 1900, Marietta-Gallipolis. By 1903 she was back in the Marietta-Middleport trade. That trade came to an end about 1911. The VALLEY BELLE next went to the upper Kanawha River and ran Charleston-Montgomery teamed up with the Helen Lane. Due to the high price of coal and the scarcity of labor, she was sold in 1917 and did job towing. Billy Bryant bought her in 1919 and used her to tow his showboat until he got the New Lotus. She then was sold to Ben Raike who took off the original engines and put on the machinery from the Liberty. She did job towing from then on until she sank in 1943 and was dismantled. Altogether she ran 60 years almost continuously (34 years as a packet and 26 as a towboat) and without a change of name. In that regard, she has no peer. ( information from: UW La Crosse Historic Steamboat Photographs).
Both ships (VALLEY BELLE an BRYANT`S SHOWBOAT) had been published as a model kit by the STEAMBOAT MUELLER in the 1970th..
Further information: https://www.si.edu/object/model-towboat-valley-belle:nmah_844166