Alexander W. Reese was born in Madison, Indiana, the son of Isaac N. and Anne Henderson Reese, both from Kentucky. He graduated from the Kentucky School of Medicine in 1855. He served in the Civil War in Company S. 31st Missouri Infantry from May 30, 1864 to November 12, 1864 as company surgeon. In 1867 he married Susanna Baile. He died in 1905 at the National Military Home in Leavenworth Kansas. He is buried in Roop Cemetery, Johnson County Missouri.