Hi Gretchen, The State of California didn't require death certificates until 1905 even though they became a state in 1850.
The reporting of deaths prior to 1905 was on a county-by-county or even city basis. First I'd check with the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society, sbgen.org/Researcher.php and see if they have any sources for old death dates.Ask them too if they have obituaries from 1885 and 1898.
Contact the Santa Barbara County Clerk Recorder, sbcvote.com/ClerkRecorder/ClerkRecorder.aspx and ask if they have any records from 1885 and 1898. Successful Searching!