In 1910, Rosebrook's family moved to the John Day Valley in eastern Oregon where he attended high school, "Long enough to play football and then I quit to go a'buckarooin'." On cattle drives, Rosebrook learned enough blacksmithing to shoe horses and other metal, carpentry, and leather-working skills. He settled into a job shoeing horses at a lumbermill after marrying in 1931.
During the 1950s, Rosebrook began to collect "good stuff"—branding irons, lanterns, glass insulators, tools, and barbed wire—which he assembled in his barn. As his collection grew in his "Old Time Museum" of ranching and pioneer life, he hung some of the equipment on the outside of the barn. He welded a few tools into the steel frame of a garden gate, and eventually produced hundreds of these framed constructions. Many of these hang on his barn wall and make up a fence along the road.
Lynda Roscoe Hartigan Made with Passion: The Hemphill Folk Art Collection in the National Museum of American Art (Washington, D.C. and London: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990)