What killed them? Was there an epidemic at the time?
Over time any tombstone can erode and become illegible. With the use of Photoshop and burial records I was able to decipher the above picture.
Unfortunately the burial records for Barton does not include cause of death. The daughter Kitty dies first April 24. 1851 then the mother Sarah dies April 27 1852, then daughter Hannah on Nov 29. 1852 and then daughter Mary died Dec 3 1852. Chances are Kitty died from something else than her mother and sisters.
A real eye opener was for the mother Sarah's burial records. I have never seen where they have put more than one person in a row in the records. Does this mean there was an epidemic?
Next step was to Google it. Nothing specific for Barnton, but informative none the less.
As per http://www.historyofwallasey.co.uk/wallasey/wallasey_cholera_1/index.html
Town Population Cholera Deaths Mortality/10,000
Liverpool 223,003 4,173 187
Chester 32,499 89 27
Birkenhead 10,777 96 89
Wallasey 6,261 30 48
Woodchurch 4,487 6 13
Eastham 5,476 5 9
Neston 4,783 2 4
As per http://www.mongenes.org.uk/epidemics_in_bri.html
1833, 1837, 1847
Influenza - widespread epidemics.
Smallpox - 42,000 deaths in Britain led to a Vaccination Act providing free vaccination as a charge on the parish poor rates. Vaccination had been known since Jenner in 1798 but its means of operation was not well understood.
Typhus - a major outbreak in London. In the autumn of 1848, a number of cases occurred about Bridge Street, Blackfriars; and it was found by Mr. Hutchinson, Surgeon of Farringdon Street, that the well of St. Bride's pump had a communication with the Fleet ditch, up which the tide flows. 'I have a strong impression that many a case of typhoid fever occurring in a respectable neighbourhood has its origin in the water of the neighbouring pump.’
Typhus outbreaks all over Britain especially the North of England and Scotland.
Cholera - a widespread epidemic - 52,000 deaths. The disease attacked 803 towns and villages.
Cholera - 15,000 deaths.
Diptheria - extensive epidemic - many deaths all over the country. (was also known as Croup. Scarletina was often confused with Diphtheria).
We may never find out for 100% certain what killed this family, but I know I am very, very grateful that we do not have to worry about the above diseases any more!